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Georgian Dream vs. President Saakashvili

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 8
Since Georgian Dream came to power after last month's parliamentary elections it has been difficult at times to say how much the new government is really in charge or whether the defeated United National Movement (UNM) is really still holding the reins of power. President Saakashvili, leader of the UNM is still in office and wields considerable power and his party controls governors in the regions as well as various municipal governments. For western democracies this is an acceptable reality, where the parliamentary majority is from one party, the president from another and the two coexist peacefully. However in Georgia the fight for leadership has become much fiercer. Many analysts have suggested that the UNM is trying to create a crisis and prepare the grounds for snap parliamentary elections which could take place as early as late April or early May 2013. UNM leaders hope to frustrate and de-legitimize the new government's plans at every turn and hope that enough of the population will have changed their mind about Georgian Dream in six months' time.

The new government's very first week in power saw miners in Chiatura, port employees in Poti, and railway employees all go on strike. Internally Displaced Persons (IDP's) as well as socially vulnerable families have illegally occupied empty buildings. All these various groups' aggressive demands have created an unpleasant situation in the country. Thus, as some analysts and politicians have suggested the UNM is preparing its revenge. The new government has to take appropriate steps to normalize the situation. GD does not a have constitutional majority in Parliament so it cannot dismiss the President and thus Saakashvili will be in power until next October.

Recently, GD drafted a budget for the fiscal year 2013. This new budget has considerably cut the President's personal budget and spending powers. Prime Minister Ivanishvili has also suggested that Saakashvili should resign. Investigations against former UNM officials have already begun. Former Prison, Defense and Interior Minister Bacho Akhalaia was detained on Wednesday morning after being interrogated for many hours in the Prosecutorís office. He has been charged with verbally and physically abusing soldiers while Minister of Defense. The ruling party claims that this is part of the criminal justice process whereas the UNM has labeled Akhalaia's arrest as politically motivated.