Take it Easy: There will be No Rose Revolution 2!


No matter how often the government talks about the alleged planned revolution, there is so little time left until October 8 that it will be very hard to organize even a serious protest rally, let alone a revolution. As such, the voters who love revolutions will have to approach the election boxes calmly. Yet by no means will the elections be calm and boring. Since 1990 we have never seen a boring parliamentary election in Georgia and 2016 will be no exception.

It is clear the October 8 elections, like the previous ones, will have two main powers: ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream. All other small parties will compete for the right to be under the wing of either of these two giants.

Yet, all of them plan to pass the 5 percent barrier as a third political power. Free Democrats, Republicans, Patriotic Alliance, Laborists, State for People and Democratic Georgia – this is the list of those political parties which, in light of current circumstances, have quite low chances of overcoming that barrier and so choose to accent their majoritarian candidates instead.

As the dynamics of the pre-electional agitation suggest, there are three frontlines in the country: one in Tbilisi, one in Samegrelo, where ex-president Saakashvili’s wife Sandra Roelofs is running, and the third in Adjara. The latter is still the most sensitive of this triad. Traditionally, the post-election period in our country is much more important and vital than the day of the elections itself. Leader of Patriotic Alliance, Irma Inashvili was referring to exactly this practice when she talked about the plans of the National Movement in her TV speech: “Saakashvili is planning again to overthrow the government” and for this he intends to relocate the revolutionary headquarters from Odessa to Trabzon to "direct the revolution" from the Georgian-Turkish border.

Mikheil Saakashvili responded to the announcement of the “Rose Revolution 2” with a Skype call addressing the people gathered for the UNM campaign, and later wrote a statement on his Facebook Page: “What unrest and coup are they these people talking about? We will win these elections calmly and quietly: all surveys speak for this. Everything is going towards Ivanishvili’s inevitable loss and the smooth replacement of the government. Neither the movie worth USD 40 million nor the staged recordings or other virtual tricks can save him from an unavoidable fail,” Saakashvili said.

Political analyst Soso Tsintsadze also excludes the development of political events in the direction of a revolutionary scenario: “The era of revolutions in Georgia is over. People suffered every revolution, the civil war... today there is no demand for this, no inner charge exists – I am not saying that nobody wants it, some crazy people might, but the masses won’t follow them. Revolutions are planned by leaders with the help of the people. Our society is not fooled to such extent as to bring the country into another destabilization,” he said.

The main political issue is whether the October elections will be followed by protests or not. We can be sure that protests and rallies will follow, but as for a revolution? No. None of the serious political powers, including Bidzina Ivanishvili, need a revolution: this is conditioned also by the new constitutional frame: In a year's time there will be presidential elections in the country and both parties will need to keep the current system intact until then in order not to strengthen unintentionally the "outer-system groups". By which I mean Nino Burjanadze, who has no chance of coming to power if the elections are held normally, but who has resources to own the power post factum if a revolution takes place. Whether she is liked by anyone or not, Burjanadze, despite her unpopularity, still remains an important actor, and ignoring her in any of the possible scenarios would be a big mistake.

As for the electorate, we should get used to the idea that a modern state does not exist without fluctuations and changes. Therefore, comfort and ease are out and a period of long-term turbulence, risks and uncertainty is ahead which will be much more long-lasting than those sixteen months until the upcoming presidential elections.

Zaza Jgarkava

29 September 2016 19:27