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Brosse Street Journal » Opinion:

Georgian (Peres)Troika

By Yana Fremer
Brosse Street Journal
Tuesday, April 13 2004
Print article  |  Mail article   

The Georgian "Revolution of Roses" has produced its own heroes. A triumvirate of young leaders, who matured as politicians in ex- president Eduard Shevardnadze’s parliament, became the heart of the new government and was labeled as a "troika."

Today’s Georgian ruling trio - President Mikhail Saakashvili, Prime Minsister Zurab Zvania and Speaker of the Parliament Nino Burdjanadze, started their ascent to the political Olympus in the mid-1990s. Their Western-oriented and democratic value-based approaches soon earned them the image of reformers. In a sea of rampant corruption and impotent executive power, they were csonidered open- and reform-minded people. Thus it is no surprise that this group became the main democratic opposition to the ruling elite. While sharing not only a value system but almost similar career paths (chairing parliamentary committees and the parliament itself), each of them developed into a strong leader.

The discredited parliamentary elections of last November forced the three leaders to unite their efforts, this time not to chair a parliamentary committee, but a revolution. This unique mixture of personalities produced a special brand of "Molotov cocktail" which proved to be strong enough to ruin Shevardnadze’s power. Now they need to prove their abilities at state-building.

The revolution automatically designed a task for the Troika - peaceful and legitimate transition of power. With January’s presidential and March’s parliamentary elections successfully fulfilled, their new tasks wait to be defined.

Unlike the Holy Trinity, the Georgian political triumvirate lacks monotheism - a commonly shared political agenda -- largely due to individual power ambitions and differences in the ways and means to achieve their goals. In spite of a strong awareness of the necessity to at least appear be unified, the first crack was sharply defined during the pre-election parliamentary campaign in early March. Saakashvili and Zvania restricted Burdjanadze by decreasing her quota in the parliamentary party list of candidates. The so-called Iron Lady accused them of violating preliminary agreements. Any future division of power can only further complicate the unity of the Troika.

At the same time, each of them perfectly understands that they are sitting in the same boat, and that aggressive behavior by even one of them can sink the boat. So the Georgian version of (Peres)Troika still requires the unity of the Troika.


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