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Saakashvili Noncommittal on Prime Ministerial Prospects
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 May.'11 / 16:34

President Saakashvili said although under the new constitution “theoretically” there is a possibility for him to run for PM to stay in power after his second and final presidential term expires, it would be now “absolutely counterproductive” to discuss his future plans.

He said in an interview with the Ukrainian 1+1 television channel that existence of that “theoretical” chance “is useful for us”, because such a possibility was not making him a lame duck president, which in turn was contributing to carrying out “super important” reform agenda his government was facing.

“Theoretically there is such a possibility and I can say it directly that this possibility is useful for us, because now we are carrying out super important reforms and if I weare a politician without prospects these reforms would hardly have a chance to succeed; so of course prospects remain,” Saakashvili said.

“On the other hand it would be absolutely counterproductive to discuss this issue for multiple of reasons. Almost three years are left [before the end of his final presidential term in 2013],” he said and added that these years would be “decisive” for carrying out modernization reform agenda.

“A strong president is needed for these reforms to be implemented and in order to be a strong president, the President should leave some prospects for himself,” Saakashvili said.

“I am absolutely frank in this regard and this [answer] does not at all mean that I am shunning away from the question,” he said and added that the issue of possibility of becoming PM was not even discussed in his inner circle.

He voiced the same position on this issue less than three months ago when speaking with PBS television interviewer Charlie Rose on March 11.
 
“I will never announce anything now for the sake of not being a lame duck,” Saakashvili said when he was asked if he was considering becoming PM after expiring his second presidential term.

“Can you imagine me saying anything on that – it just automatically undermines the whole [reform] agenda; of course if you are Tony Blair or George Bush in a country [with] well-established institutions it may work – although they had problems; can you imagine a small, aspiring country having a lame duck President at the most resolute moment? I do not think it will work… I am not going to go into those discussions. Those discussions are not helpful for the immediate future of my country,” Saakashvili said in March.

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