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Five years of presidency expired

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, January 8
Five years have passed since the snap presidential elections on January 5, 2008. On that day Mikheil Saakashvili was elected as Georgia's president for the second term. On January 20 he was inaugurated. The Georgian Constitution stipulates five year terms for the presidency. In 2006, there was a special amendment introduced to the Georgian constitution which strictly determines that presidential elections should be held in October in the year of expiration of presidential terms.

There is the opinion that these two paragraphs in the state constitution contradict one another. This has the potential to trigger a serious political confrontation. After winning the elections on October 1, 2012 Bidzina Ivanishvili became Prime Minister and he asked President to resign as soon as his term expired.

Georgia's Western allies became upset because of this recommendation and that is why they demanded cohabitation model between the confronting sides. However, currently Ivanishvili is not insisting on the president's resignation.

Various reasons are presented: first of all, the Georgian Dream coalition does not possess a constitutional majority in the parliament; secondly, the West does not appreciate any attempts to dismiss the president and thirdly, presidential elections are not in the best interests of the Georgian Dream coalition because it does not have a presidential candidate yet.

However, there are different opinions on this. A special public movement has started in Georgia that demands President Saakashvili's resignation. The claim is supported by more than 50 NGOs and they have collected over 850, 000 signatures demanding the resignation of the president.

Initiators of this movement presented an ultimatum to Saakashvili. They say from January 21, 2013 he is no long Georgia’s president according to the Georgian constitution and the leaders of the initiative promise to create such conditions for Saakashvili that he will not be able to perform his duties. They think that by January 20 the signatures will reach 1 million and numerous political parties will also support them.

There is another opinion that suggests that there is no controversy between the two paragraphs of the state constitution. Saakashvili should resign on January 21 as his term will have expired and in this case from January 21, his presidential powers should be rendered to the Parliamentary Chairman who will perform the duties of the president as an interim president until the presidential elections are held in October in compliance with the current constitution.

The first two weeks of January, 2013 will be hectic for Georgian political life. Parliament is on holiday and Georgia celebrates two Christmases and two New Years (new and old style). But in about ten days, the anti-presidential campaign will start with new force.