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Will the President resign?

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, January 5
Georgia’s ex-Parliament Speaker and ex-leader of the Republican Party, David Usupashvili, who is one of the most experienced politicians in Georgia, has stated that the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, may resign before his official term expires in autumn 2018.

Usupashvili, who quit the Republican Party after the October Parliamentary Elections and announced his wish to create a new political force capable of winning the 2020 Parliamentary race, says President Giorgi Margvelashvili may step down due to ongoing tension with the ruling Georgian Dream authorities, which “want to put changes in the Constitution and approve the fact that the President must be appointed by Parliament, not elected by the people”.

Both Usupashvili and Margvelashvili initially belonged to the Georgian Dream coalition, which was established by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili prior to the 2012 Parliamentary Elections with the aim of defeating the nine-year rule of the United National Movement Government.

Margvelashvili was Ivanishvili’s pick for the presidency. However, shortly after taking office, Ivanishvili criticized him for not meeting several of his own previous promises, one of them being Margvelashvili’s earlier refusal to live in the Avlabari Presidential Palace.

Unlike Margvelashvili, Usupashvili was liked by Ivanishvili until the end of the last year, when the Republicans stated they were going to leave the Georgian Dream coalition and participate separately in the parliamentary elections.

At that time, Ivanishvili said the Republicans would have “zero chance” to appear in Parliament without the Georgian Dream party.

Ivanishvili was proved right, as the Republicans failed to overcome the mandatory 5 percent threshold to take seats in the 150-member legislative body.

After the failure, Usupashvili left the party, saying some of his initiatives about the party’s future contradicted some other Republican Party leaders’ views.

Since then, there have been speculations that Usupashvili and Margvelashvili may create a new political force in the future.

In his most recent statement, Usupashvili stated that Margvelashvili may step down before the Constitutional changes initiated by the ruling team came into effect in the summer of this year, to enable the Georgian people to have a directly elected President until 2022.

Margvelashvili refused to comment on Usupashvili’s statement.

Speaking about Usupashvili’s claims, some analysts say Usupashvili and Margvelashvili are entertaining the possibility of a political alliance, while others believe there will be a political deal between Usupashvili and the current Georgian Dream Government.

Analyst Gia Khukhashvili says if different scenarios are discussed, it is more likely that the Government and Usupashvili will be allied than Usupashvili and Margvelashvili.

He said the motivation of the deal for Usupashvili could be an offer from the Government, and support for the presidential post.

Fellow analyst Archil Gamzardia believes the Constitutional change over electing the president would be dependent on the ruling party’s political rating in the summer.

It could be said that Usupashvili has never been known for making scandalous statements and it is very likely his words will have a clear target.