The messenger logo

Current trends in Georgian politics

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, August 20
The resignation of the Chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC), Zurab Kharatishvili, and opinions about his possible participation in the upcoming presidential race, has given ground to much speculation among politicians and political analysts.

However, his decision to resign has been viewed critically by the both parliamentary forces – the Georgian Dream and the United National Movement (UNM).

Kharatishvili was appointed to this position by the former UNM government and he, supposedly, was indirectly supporting the UNM during the previous elections. The new majority, which did not exercise the constitutional majority in the parliament, could not remove him from the position. So, theoretically, Kharatishvili’s sympathies would have rested with the UNM’s. However, his current moves have made the situation confusing.

The analysts assess Kharatishvli’s chances for the presidential race as minimal, so the question arises: why did Kharatishvili decide to quit?

The forces within Georgian politics are mainly distributed according to their orientation. And this concerns mainly foreign relations. The Georgian Dream claims that it has a pro-Western orientation, but it wants to reconcile this orientation with the regulation of the country's relations with Russia.

Some steps have been made in this regard. Georgia managed to restore economic relations with Russia, but the political process remains in limbo.

The Georgian Dream is being criticized. On the one hand, it takes heat for being pro-Russian and on the other, for its attempt at joining Western institutions like NATO, a process which has yielded little of any results.

The second political direction is represented by the UNM which claims to have a Western orientation and blames the coalition for its pro-Russian moves.

The third direction unites the non-parliamentary political parties, which are openly Russian-oriented and which distance themselves from the west and aim at closer ties with Russia. They demand direct dialogue with Russia, and a change of orientation back towards Georgia's traditional partner in the East.

Leader of the Democratic Movement – United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze, represents this column, although the Labor Party and some smaller political entities also belong to this group.

The possibility of a fourth direction also exists – the unification of those non-parliamentary parties which are clearly oriented towards the West. Such parties are the National Democrats, New Rights, and to some extent – the Christian-Democrats.

Is there a possibility that the former chairman of the CEC, Zurab Kharatishvili, could become the leader of this group? The probable answer is that there is not enough time to establish unity in this direction before the presidential elections in October. Moreover, the leader of the Christian-Democratic Movement, Giorgi Targamadze, is a person with great ambition, so it is likely that he will claim the role of the leader of this group.