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Saakashvili’s teammates pushed to opposition2010-09-01 12:34
Georgian mass media keep rumoring on the change of favorites in Mikheil Saakashvili's entourage. According to the press, Giga Bokeria, first deputy FM and ideologist of the ruling National Movement might join the opposition in protest to recent amendments to the country's constitution that reinforce the authority of current PM Nika Gilauri. However, Gilauri's position is not at all stable - there are two candidates for his post, as local tabloids write.
Rumors on changes of key posts in Georgia's cabinet have been on for weeks. At first the local press reported that the position of PM might be offered to current minister of economy and sustainable development Vera Kobalia.
Soon the mass media revealed the name of another probable successor to Gilauri - Nika Rurua, minister of culture and monument protection. However, if as the Georgian leader's favorite Kobalia might be a real candidate, Rurua's appointment looks unlikely at first sight.
And it is: Rurua's ministry refuted rumors presented by Georgian media with a flash-like speed. "I personally discussed that with prime minister and minister of culture, - Gilauri's spokesman Nikoloz Mchedlishcili said. - Rurua continues his work as minister".
The change of pack in Georgia's upper echelons announced by the media reached the ministry of foreign affairs. But can these rumors be true? As we know, Giga Bokeria is close to Mikheil Saakashvili as well as other organizers of the current president's advent to power. According to some opinions, Bokeria is one of the most influential politicians in Georgia.
As for the new constitutional model the Georgian media refer to sending Bokeria to the opposition, it is oriented to the change of balance between branches of power: the parliament will be in charge of government composition and the presidential powers shrink due to the extension of PM's powers.
Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili continues to repeat that amendments to the constitution are connected with the intention to preserve the team of reformers that is now in formation. "I have never been an individual, I have always represented a group, and we have always worked as a group", - Ekho Moskvy quotes. - It all works well, this is one team. I would like this team to continue in power". The model, as Saakashvili thinks, excludes autocracy since the power is de-facto divided.
According to Georgia's ex defense minister Irakli Okruashvili, current Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava is preparing himself for presidency. But as he believes, this is a formality necessary to keep the ruling team headed by interior minister Vano Merabishvili and Georgi Bokeria in power. "This constitution is good to make Ugulava president, but a quasi president, since Bokeria and Merabishvili will hold all power levers and continue to rule" - the former minister remarked.
In light of approaching 2013 when Saakashvili will have to retire from presidency, the reinforced role of PM does make the opposition utterly concerned.
For instance, recently Ivlian Khaidrava of the Republican Party stated that extension of the parliament's powers must be considered in the context of Saakashvili's far-reaching plans. "Now we hear rumors in Georgia that the Russian model with ex president taking PM office is possible because a lot will depend on Saakashvili's ambitions and his intention to continue in power after his second term expires, - the politician remarks. - I can't say in what way the current team will retain power in future. Still it's evident they will do their best to".