Editorial: Georgia of the victorious tycoon
3.10.12 12:15 By Gazeta.ru editorial
Mikheil Saakashvili admitted defeat in Monday's parliamentary vote in a TV announcement.
"It is clear from early results that the opposition has the lead and should form the government," Saakashvili said.
According to preliminary results, the opposition coalition Georgian Dream led by the tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, won 110 seats out of 150 in the parliament.
For the first time in its post-Soviet history, Georgia will have legal non-revolutionary regime change.
Despite the fact that Saakashvili was often accused of authoritarianism, he did not falsify the results of the elections in order to stay in power.
This defeat is especially painful for him because he wanted to use the political combination in Putin's style: after two presidential terms, he wanted to preserve power legally by becoming a Prime Minister in 2013.
To do this, in autumn of 2010 the ruling coalition amended the Constitution of Georgia, according to which the country turned into a parliamentary republic, with full executive power in prime minister's hands and by giving the president mostly representative functions.
During the two presidential terms Saakashvili devoted himself to creating a firm central power in Georgia, which his predecessors, Eduard Shevarnadze and Zviyad Gamsakhurdia, failed to do. Moreover, he managed to conduct reforms, which did not influence the mentality of Georgians. He minimized corruption among law enforcement officers and almost eliminated the powers of the so called law abiding thieves.
Saakashvili moved Georgia from the Soviet regime to a post-Soviet regime. But many Georgians could not forgive him the loss of territory in the war with Russia, his rough style of governing and the continued poverty of the vast majority of the population.
Finally, the last thing that hit Saakashvili were the videos of tortured prisoners which were aired on Georgian TV: before that the authorities were proud of their reforms in the police.
The Georgian people have shown themselves mature enough to start a protest vote, even though the fate of the Georgian state after the change of power is unclear. Bidzina Ivanishvili
His real political views, if any, are unknown. He came to power in Georgia as the candidate of the "lesser evil" with a set of radical populist promises like a dramatic increase in pensions and decent income for each person in the country, which are unlikely to be realized. Ivanishvili will have to make a strategic choice between returning Georgia to the corrupt Soviet like state or furthering the progressive movement to the West.
Ivanishvili, whom his political rivals call "the Kremlin backed candidate," naturally speaks of mending relations with Moscow. Russia, too, is interested in this. Many Russian officials have said that the only barrier for improving relations between the two countries is Saakashvili and that Kremlin is ready to work with Tbilisi.
there are still such serious obstacles as the South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Ivanishvili will unlikely accept the exclusion of these areas from Georgia, and certainly will not do so in public.
It is unclear whether Ivanishvili will conduct shadow talks with Moscow about Abkhazia and South Ossetia in the style of his business transactions.
Or if he will try to transform the issue by making it the subject of bargaining between Moscow and the West.
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