Caucasus Reality 16 may — 08:45

Chaos in Georgia: Saakashvili's last fight with Ivanishvili (Views and evaluations)

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BY ZAUR RASULZADEH, POLITICS SECTION

In Tbilisi, against the backdrop of growing civil protests and a split in the ruling Georgian Dream Party (GDP), billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili decided to head again this political organisation he had created. Ivanishvili believes that this will strengthen the party's position on the eve of the presidential election in October, which both the ruling circles and the opposition in the person of former President Mikheil Saakashvili attach special importance to.

But the question of whether Ivanishvili himself will run for the post of head of state is not yet known. Meanwhile, the Georgian election will be the last when the head of state is elected by direct vote, and not for five, as before, but for a six year term. In accordance with the new constitution, Georgia will become a parliamentary republic and the procedure for electing the president, established since 2024, will be different.

In an interview with Azeri Daily, influential Georgian expert Giorgi Khukhashvili explained the need to return to the political arena of the country of the oligarch Ivanishvili, who had already ruled the country through his proteges, by the fact that if he becomes president, it will be possible to restore the institutional order in the country.

'Bidzina Ivanishvili should run for presidency. After that, competitive elections must be held under his guarantee, we should get a multi-party parliament, and then, if he wants, let him go,' said expert and former adviser of Ivanishvili.

Khukhashvili noted that the processes taking place within the parliamentary majority remind him of the situation in a school class at the moment when in the middle of the lesson the teacher leaves the room and the children are left unattended.

'If the teacher does not return to the class, we will get a bad picture. Parliamentarians are politically immature people, who themselves do not know what they are saying. The teacher should feel his responsibility and understand that it is not possible to leave the children alone in the middle of the lesson. Objective necessity: Bidzina Ivanishvili should make such a decision and return to politics. Nobody wants to take responsibility, the system is broken, in decision-making is in absolute chaos,' he said.

Meanwhile, political scientist Gia Nodia told Azeri Daily that the oligarch-politician's former predictions that after the third year of the GDP rule in Georgia, an era of prosperity will come and that, seeing this, the residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia will want to return to Tbilisi under their wing, were not justified.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili even put forward a new program 'A Step to a Better Future,' which many people in the country perceived as 'working on mistakes' in the performance of the republican authorities and a new attempt to restore the territorial integrity of the state. But it is already obvious that neither the Abkhazians nor the Ossetians have been encouraged by even the abolition of the visa regime between Georgia and the EU, not to mention Georgian 'prosperity.' Well, now it remains to wait for the results of the return to the political scene of 'Ivanishvili himself' and see if he will be able to solve the vital problems of the country by administering it 'in a manual mode,' that is, personally.

In recent interviews, Mikheil Saakashvili made it clear that he intends to fight the 'Russian tycoon Ivanishvili' in the election. At the same time, the former president did not rule out the 'Armenian scenario' in Georgia and advised Bidzina Ivanishvili 'to drink carrot juice,' preparing for the speedy return of Mr Saakashvili himself in Tbilisi.

In spite of everything, Russian political analyst Sergey Markedonov, in a conversation with Azeri Daily, expressed his hope that Ivanishvili's return, who in principle did not leave politics and simply led them in an informal way, looks logical. 'Georgian Dream,' having achieved the constitutional majority and having reformed the Basic Law, seeks to cement political domination. And this it has every chance to do.

GDP after the departure of Saakashvili gradually squeezed out of power the previously headed by him United National Movement (UNM) and proceeded to ensure its unlimited domination.

'The former president himself is in exile, his party split, and the closest associate, former prime minister and long-time chief of the Ministry of the Interior, the 'grey eminence' Vano Merabishvili, was imprisoned. No matter how one treats these people, it is obvious that those who succeeded them took a course not on an inclusive dialogue with their predecessors, but on the monopolisation of power. The current president Margvelashvili did not want to play the role of a ceremonial figure, like the British queen or the German federal president. On many issues, he broke up with his party and, most likely, he will become opposition to Ivanishvili, not Saakashvili,' predicts Markedonov.

Giorgi Margvelashvili

Former co-owner of the Russian Credit Bank Bidzina Ivanishvili created the Georgian Dream Party in October 2011, when he announced the decision to 'expel Mikheil Saakashvili from the political stage of Georgia.' Having defeated the party of the former president in the parliamentary elections in 2012, the billionaire headed the government, but then resigned as prime minister in late 2013 - after the election of the new president - Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Then Ivanishvili said that he was leaving big politics 'most likely for good' and compared his hypothetical return with the 'second coming after the apocalypse.' However, no one in Georgia doubted that for the next five years it was the businessman Ivanishvili who remained the 'shadow' leader of the government.

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