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The strange world of Georgian politics

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, August 13
Two major figures in Georgian politics now in confrontation have made strange statements recently. President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose presidential terms expire in three months, has made aggressive statements towards Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, and also speculates about his possible return to a leadership position.

On the other hand, PM Ivanishvili, who can feel comfortable for the next three years as the country's Prime Minister, constantly reminds people his wish to retire from his position in the near future.

Both these positions considerably influence current Georgian politics; particularly the PM’s statements. It also influences the pre-election ratings of the presidential candidate of the Georgian Dream coalition, Giorgi Margvelashvili, and the United National Movement (UNM), Davit Bakradze.

The overall opinion about the coalition’s presidential candidate is that he would fail his way to the presidency independently (without the support of his team). So, presumably, when he becomes president, he will definitely be under the complete influence of Ivanishvili.

But what if Ivanishvili really resigns from his post after the presidential elections? Who will be the next prime minister in this case? How harmoniously could the new PM and a new president work in tandem? The expert's opinions differ.

How will President Saakashvili’s statements influence the ratings of the UNM’s presidential candidate Bakradze, who, according to the analysts is an experienced politician who wants to separate himself from Saakashvili’s influence? Saakashvili’s statements about his possible return to the political arena will have a negative effect on Bakradze’s ratings.

Polling has shown that Saakashvili’s statements do not influence the ratings of the UNM candidate. So, presumably, under the current circumstances, the ratings of the Georgian Dream coalition would slowly decrease, but the lost votes will not necessarily go to the UNM candidate box.

According to certain opinions, these votes might go to a third canddidate – most likely to the leader of the Democratic Movement – United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze, who looks like the most appropriate leader to compete and even overrun Bakradze.

However, if Ivanishvili really leaves his position, it will be followed with deep frustration among the supporters of the Georgian Dream coalition; as he is the one that managed to defeat the UNM and the public accepts him as the current leader of the Georgian nation.

So, the presidential elections are not only aimed at choosing the new president, but it will also determine the general public opinion towards the current political situation in Georgia and balance of forces.