Will the President Be Number One on the List?
26 January, 2012

Resignation from the position would jeopardize functioning of new Constitutional provisions

Experts suppose that the current President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili may show up on the top of the election list of the Nationalist Movement in the coming elections. If true, this would necessitate his resignation. Premature termination of the Presidency however would stall Constitutional provisions which foresee strengthening of Prime Minister’s institution at the expense of Presidential position.

 

Despite this legal predication, the Parliamentary Majority did not falter to pledge that no one else but Saakashvili should hold the top of the Nationals’ list. They do not care to keep the plan in secret. Meanwhile, the President’s office does not intend to shed light on the issue.

“Saakashvili’s office term expires in 2013 and hence he will serve exactly till that date,” – insists Nugzar Tsiklauri, one of the leaders of the Parliamentary Majority. He maintains that “speculations about possible premature termination of Presidential term are not serious.” Tsiklauri explains that political parties make decisions, which fit particular situations and premature debacles and insinuations do not hold water. National Movement finds preoccupation with particular personalities useless. There are much more important topics to focus on, such as foreign policy priorities, forthcoming visit of Saakashvili to the United States, continuation of non-recognition process, threats coming from Russia, ten-point plan of economic development and alike.

As for the future carrier of Saakashvili after 2013, Tsiklauri alleges that Saakashvili will continue to play a significant role in the political system, in line with Constitutional provisions. However,  Tsiklauri does not disclose specifically what steps and directions Saakashvili will take after the end of his office term. He only suggests that the National Movement and Saakashvili are going to come up with specific plans only after the presidency term is over.

It is noteworthy that these days speculations abound as to where Saakashvili would go after the end of his presidency. Considering that the above noted Constitutional innovation gives immense powers to Prime Minister, it would be most natural to suspect that Saakashvili will seek this post for his next incarnation. In his statements, Saakashvili casually admits this scenario as one of his alternative choices. However, some say that the West will oppose this scenario.

Later on another scenario crystallized. It depicts Saakashvili in the seat of Parliamentary Speaker. However, for this he must resign from the Presidential post, run for and win majority of votes in the Parliamentary elections.

After the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili immersed in the deep waters of politics, certain hope was born in the hearts and minds of particular groups that the Authorities would not be able to grab majority at the Parliament any more. If the National Movement actually fails to secure the majority, political reality would change dramatically because Parliamentary majority is a pre-requisite for the enhanced power of Prime Minister and formation of the Government.

Even though Saakashvili himself has recently ruled out possibility of special elections, his self-abdication from the Presidential seat would mean it. Then both elections would run in parallel. However, experts assert that resignation of the President will jeopardize proper functioning of new Constitutional provisions. That is why they increasingly think about another scenario in which Saakashvili tops the Parliamentary list.

“Results of the Parliamentary elections determine results of Presidential elections. So it is quite possible that some of them hold such views. Yet, such decisions are not made so easily and rapidly because calculation of expected results is rather difficult,” – expert Vakhtang Khmaladze concludes.

Experts explain that if the President resigns before October 2013 or ceases to be the President for other reasons, the extraordinary elections must be held in 45 days. This in turn excludes any chance of holding regular elections in October 2013.