Saakashvili plans to fight for power in two countries

Saakashvili plans to fight for power in two countries

A large scale congress of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili's "United National Movement" (UNM) party was held in Tbilisi. More than 7100 delegates from all regions of the country have gathered in Sports Palace. However, a lot of prominent figures did not attend the meeting, including MPs from the UNM, who formed the party together with Saakashvili in 2001, and organized the "revolution of roses". 

Shortly before the congress old guard completely broke up with former leader. One of the ideologists of peaceful revolution of 2003, journalist, member of parliament of the previous convocation, David Darchiashvili, formulated the main reason for this: "Mikheil Saakashvili wants to do what he once did for the second time, but history of humanity has repeatedly proved that it's impossible." Party elite decided that as a leader, Saakashvili has exhausted all of his resources and should be turned into a symbol - without possible return to power in Georgia. Such sentiments of the UNM's leadership have strengthened after Saakashvili, fearing arrest and trial, run away from Georgia in late 2013 and received the Ukrainian citizenship, automatically losing Georgian citizenship. 

His old friends considered such act to be irrational and even disgraceful, but they didn't say this directly. Only recently, after 2.5 years in prison, former mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava said without excessive diplomacy that citizenship and passport "are not a formality, and there will be no exceptions." 

Nevertheless, till the last moment, former colleagues of ex-president were hoping that Saakashvili will be reasonable and tried to persuade him to accept the role of "reforms symbol", so that the party would be lead by new people. Former parliament speaker David Bakradze is considered for the post of party chairman (vacant after Saakashvili lost Georgian citizenship). 

But Saakashvili is an experienced player. He correctly calculated that broad masses of the party will support him, not bureaucratic elite, as he called all renovators.That is why former president insisted on convening "maximally representative congress," which essentially turned into mass rally. So it was impossible to hold any discussion and normal, competitive elections. After confirming the futility of further struggle, half of political council of the party and absolute majority of MPs from the UNM announced that they are quitting and creating a new opposition party, with provisional name "European Georgia". 

With no opponents in party establishment, Saakashvili was able to bring only his supporters into the political council and leave chairman post vacant. So the position of party's leader is somewhat "reserved" for him. 

Addressing the participants of congress from Washington, Saakashvili directly explained why he needs this reservation: "I will definitely be back and I will continue to fight for a new Georgia." It is noteworthy that Saakashvili, who received Ukrainian citizenship by presidential decree of Poroshenko and who also heads Ukrainian party, almost didn't mention Ukraine in his speech. This way, he hinted that his strategic goal is to get back power in Georgia. Participation in the turbulent political life of Ukraine is just a way to stay relevant and achieve cherished goal. 

However, the majority of Georgian experts believe that this goal is unattainable. In pursuit of impossible dream, Saakashvili destroyed once monolithic opposition party - the only alternative to the "Georgian Dream" of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. 


Vestnik Kavkaza

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