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What now for Georgia after change of power?

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What now for Georgia after change of power?


Will the potential elevation of Bidzina Ivanishvili to the post of prime minister with his six party Georgian Dream coalition set to dominate parliament raise tensions in the Caucasus?

Political analysts believe the next 12 months and the reaction of President Mikheil Saakashvili – who is due to step down in a year – could be key.

“It is still possible there will be disturbances or street protests if the two sides cannot agree on what is going to occur in the next year. Mr Ivanishvili has stated as late as yesterday that he still expects President Saakashvili to resign, which President Saakashvili is not ready to do by all signs. So you could still have an unstable situation if the two don’t come to an agreement,” explained International Crisis Group’s Caucasus Project Director Lawrence Sheets.

The initial language to Georgians from both politicians was conciliatory. Ivanishvili ruled out any post ballot witch-hunts while the president conceded defeat in a nationwide television address.

One resident in Tbilisi said that was absolutely necessary: “The president did not have any other choice, that’s why he did that. Otherwise they would have being doing everything possible to cling on to their seats, I think.”

As Georgia starts to build for the future after the
country’s first democratic transfer of power it is not just domestic relationships which could prove critical.

Russia, the West and the EU bloc, all of whom have endorsed the election result, will be watching developments closely.

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