skip to content

Mikheil Saakashvili

“Did you demand early [parliamentary] polls? You have received even earlier [presidential] ones,” Saakashvili told the opposition on November 8 – a day after breaking up the anti-governmental demonstrations and shutting down Imedi TV in a police raid – and called for early presidential elections for January 5.
Saakashvili, 40, came into the Georgian politics twelve years ago when he was elected in the parliament on then ruling Citizens Union party ticket. In 1999 he was re-elected in the parliament after winning a single-mandate seat in the Tbilisi’s Vake constituency. At that time Levan Gachechiladze, who is now the nine-party opposition coalition’s presidential candidate, led Saakashvili’s election campaign in Vake.
In 2000 he was appointed as Justice Minister, but quit the position after lashing out at then President Eduard Shevardnadze in 2001. He then launched an opposition party, National Movement, which was second in the local self-governance elections in Tbilisi after the Labor Party. Saakashvili, however, managed to become the chairman of the Tbilisi city council after backstage deals with the Labor Party leader, Shalva Natelashvili.
Saakashvili ran his party’s election campaign ahead of the November 2, 2003 parliamentary elections with the slogan “Georgia Without Shevardnadze.” After widespread allegations of ballot-rigging, Saakashvili, along with Nino Burjanadze and Zurab Zhvania, led the anti-governmental demonstrations that eventually led to the Rose Revolution. In 2004 Saakashvili was elected as the President with up to 97% of votes. Although since then Saakashvili’s popularity has been declining, he anyway enjoyed the highest approval rating among politicians. Political comeback of his former close ally and ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili in late September and then the November 7 events, however, were major blow to Saakashvili’s popularity. He is now campaigning under the slogan “Georgia without poverty.”


Back to top button