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The failure of cohabitation

By Messenger Staff
Monday, February 11
February 8 represented a dramatic day for Georgian domestic politics. Many however were not surprised at the events that transpired. Unfortunately, the idea of cohabitation is one that is a virtual idea at best. The reality is that there exists a politics of confrontation in the country.

While politicians give lip service to the concept of cohabitation, in reality cohabitation is looking increasingly unlikely. Opinions vary as to why cohabitation is failing in Georgia. Some analysts cite the ambiguity of the articles of constitution as a major factor for this alienation.

According to the constitution, Mikheil Saakashvili’s five-year presidential term expired on January 20, 2013. However, the same constitution stipulates that Georgia’s presidential elections should be held in October of this year.

In the minds of Saakashvili’s opponents, the president’s term has already expired. They also are weary of the possibility that Saakashvili may be preparing to discharge the parliament and government, as it is his current constitutionally mandated right.

Some analysts suggest that there is no basis anywhere within the constitution that would legally permit the president to continue on his post after January 20. Many feel he should resign immediately and transfer his presidential powers and responsibilities to the parliamentary chairman who will lead the country until the legal elections scheduled for October take place.

The president however continues on his post unabated. This in turn backs-up what many analysts suggest is the major source for confrontation in the country– Misha himself. Saakashvili, who instead of acting as the constructive guarantor of peace and reconciliation of the country, cultivates an environment of confrontation and violence.

Many questions need to be answered. Does Saakashvili intend to discharge Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s government? What would have happened if the president was allowed to give his address in front of the parliament on February 8? If Saakashvili was prevented from delivering his speech at the parliament, why should he not address the people from his residence instead?

Some suggest that Saakashvili wants confrontation because he can benefit from the all possible consequences. If by chance he can retain his power and influence, he could prove triumphant. However, if he loses, he can leave the country and declare himself as a leader in exile.

Today the situation is extremely dramatic. The scenes of violence in front of the National Library were very upsetting. Meanwhile the Georgian Dream still demands constitutional changes that will make it impossible for the president to discharge the government. Verbally Saakashvili has promised he will not discharge the government. However, the coalition leadership does not trust him. In his speech from his residence later on February 8, Saakashvili demonstrated his cooperative goodwill and rational commonsense.

The Georgian people would like to trust him, but there is much to suggest that Saakashvili’s pragmatic disposition is simply a tactical maneuver and is only a clever deception.