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Differences and similarities between the Rose and Georgian Dream administrations

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, November 27
Recently it has become very popular among analysts, politicians and journalists to discuss the differences and similarities between the administration that came to power after the Rose Revolution in 2003 and the October 1 election in 2012. Interesting details can be observed while discussing this issue, including identifying the successes and errors of either of the parties.

The biggest similarity between the 2003 and 2012 changes in power is that there was an overall public demand for such a change. By 2003, the Georgian population had become fed-up with leader Eduard Shevardnadze. He headed the country since 1972, when he became the first secretary of the communist party of Georgia in the Soviet Union. 31 years with only small intervals in between, he was leading Georgia and people got sick of him. However, the Georgian population became fed-up with the Rose administration just nine-years after the revolution. The next similarity between the events is that the leaders in both cases– either Mikheil Saakashvili or Bidzina Ivanishvili– were charismatic leaders. Around these people, nearly the whole nation was united.

Now about the differences. Saakashvili came to power through the revolution though it was colored and bloodless, without elections. To remind, the results of the 2003 November parliamentary elections became unacceptable for the Georgian populations because they were rigged, therefore on 22 November 2003, the revolutionaries headed by Saakashvili entered the parliament building and kicked Shevardnadze and his supporters out of the building. The 2012 change took place through an election that would mark the first legal change of power in the post-Soviet history of Georgia. After the Rose Revolution, almost the entire previous administration gave up their positions. President Shevardnadze resigned, majoritarians that remained in the parliament joined the ruling administration. Today the victorious Georgian Dream coalition enjoys a majority in the parliament, though not a constitutional majority. The opposition UNM retains the position of the president, who still exercises much power. He appoints regional governors, heads of the Constitutional/ Supreme Courts and many other significant positions in the country. The National Movement also controls a large portion of the local self governance system.

After the Rose Revolution, the former leading power's Citizens Union disappeared completely from the political arena. After the October 1, 2012 elections, the former ruling party (UNM) officially declared itself as the opposition and has become a serious opponent of the Georgian Dream in the parliament and outside of it. After Shevardnadze was dismissed from the presidency, neither he himself or any of his former team members remained in high positions. Whereas today, the UNM has a significant number of levers in its control and even considers the possibility of taking revenge, by not waiting four years since the expiration of parliamentary terms, but instead appointing snap elections in six months from the new parliament functioning. However, analysts suggest that it is unlikely that Saakashvili could achieve success in a possible snap election. They predict that the UNM will not gather even 20% of the votes, provided that the elections are held democratically. That being said, the chance still exists and as the saying goes: hope never dies or dies at last.

It should also be mentioned that there are many more differences and similarities between the two administrations. There could be more challenges in the direction of using the right staff and employing the right personnel and not making the same mistakes as the previous government. Resisting the temptation of implementing corrupt deals, exercising equal rights and opportunities for everybody, to say nothing about Georgia's poor economic situation, problems within the social sphere, lost territories, IDPs and many more.