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Phenomenon of Georgian president's policy

06 January 2010 [14:10] - TODAY.AZ
Exactly six years have passed since Mikheil Saakashvili became Georgia's President after the Rose Revolution and overthrow of the country's former leader, Eduard Shevardnadze. Over the years, Saakashvili has withstood the test, perhaps more than any other president of the former Soviet republics.

In his political career he experienced all - massive opposition protests in 2007, war with South Ossetia, after Russia's intervention in which Abkhazia and South Ossetia became self-proclaimed republics in 2008, and attempted military coup.

Saakashvili's foreign policy was always aimed at Georgia's integration into the West, which led to a serious deterioration in relations with Russia and to the events of August 2008, after which all sorts of diplomatic relations between the countries were suspended. The country led by Mikheil Saakashvili has not reached significant progress in the way of Georgia's membership in NATO.

However, despite all the problems that the country has faced in recent years, the president has been able to maintain the highest rating among politicians in Georgia over the past six years.

This phenomenon is simple: in contrast to the president's foreign policy, his domestic policy was successful and supported by the majority of the Georgian population.

The study of influential organizations such as NDI and IRI have shown that today the Georgian president has such a high rating, which he has not in last years. According to the NDI, a negative rating amounts to 27 percent when 61 percent of respondents showed a positive attitude towards him. Only 13 percent of respondents regarded the president's activity as "bad", the Imedi television channel reported.

In his recent interview with the Ekho Moskvy radio station, Saakashvili said Georgia became the first country in the world in the fight against corruption.

"According to the World Bank, we are the first country in the Eastern Europe on business climate," Saakashvili said. "We are the first fighters against worldwide corruption and according to Transparency International, the first reformers in Europe for five years."

Georgia is one of the three most non-corrupt countries in Europe, based on the reports of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the PACE, the Freedom House, the Transparency International and the U.S State Department, Saakashvili underscored.  

Indeed, Georgia is the only nation among the post-Soviet countries emerging from the "color revolutions", whose ratings has steadily grown.

"Despite the continuing political instability, heightened by the war with Russia in August 2008, Georgia's index figures continue to grow, rising from 3.9 points to 4.1 points. The Georgian citizens and the international community agree that the level of household corruption in the country has significantly dropped," Transparency International report says.

The president himself has done much in this respect. During his leadership, many high-ranking law enforcement officials have been prosecuted for corruption.

Polls conducted by international organizations and researchers showed that today Saakashvili has no serious opponent either among members of his party or among the opposition.

It is understandable. Despite vigorous protests against the president's policy, no party can clearly name alternative ways for the country's development. Georgia's opposition parties are split and hope for external effects. The rhetoric of the Georgian opposition leaders is not intended for domestic consumption.

This may be the biggest mistake. Not the external forces, even though very influential observers, but the country's population will elect the president in 2013.

Unfortunately, the public has not offered a new leader, Georgian experts say even now.

Though Saakashvili does not intend to amend the constitution to run for president for the third time as the ruling party stated, after the expiration of his office term, he could repeat Russia's scenario and become prime minister, proposing a trusted ally for presidency and ensuring voters trust him.

Elmira Tariverdiyeva
Trend News European Desk Commentator

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