Saakashvili still in command ahead of autumn vote

As Russia appears to settle down from its presidential election and brief moment of popular tumult, a poll released today shows that Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement would win parliamentary elections, scheduled for October of this year, although he may not exactly be resting comfortably with the news.

Despite his National Movement’s 45% support to just 10% for the latest opposition coalition, the opposition is being funded by Bidzina Ivanishvili, the wealthiest man in Georgia, who gave a fiery interview to Der Spiegel today with some incredibly harsh words for Saakashvili:

America has chosen Georgia as a junior partner. The United States believes that Saakashvili is creating a democratic Georgia, but these are merely facades. I want to show the Americans his true face. Saakashvili is pulling the wool over their eyes.

But I would like to ask the West to take a look at the real situation in our country and stop being fooled by Saakashvili. Europe and America should judge Georgia’s leadership on the basis of their actions, not just their words and promises. Otherwise Saakashvili will transform Georgia into a dictatorship.

Ivanishvili made his fortune in Russia and has, until recently, kept a low profile in the media and in politics in Georgia, as well described in this 2010 Prospect Magazine profileContinue reading Saakashvili still in command ahead of autumn vote

Irish referendum to be held May 31

Mark your calendars: the Irish referendum on the European Union fiscal compact will take place on May 31.

If the Merkel-led austerity doesn’t take any hits following the French presidential election or the Greek parliamentary elections, it will still face the gauntlet of a feisty Irish electorate that might not be too keen on institutionalizing budgetary limits into the fabric of the EU, although the threats lurking behind any “No” vote — no further access to EU bailout money and higher interest rates — might well be more disastrous.


Mulcair emerges as NDP leader

Thomas Mulcair won the leadership of the New Democratic Party Saturday night — giving Canada an Opposition Leader for really the first time since the 2011 general election. 

That general election, you may or may not know, scrambled Canadian federal politics, not so much by giving the Conservative Party, so resurgent under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and so much closer to the American right than the British right in its back-from-the-dead revival, an outright parliamentary majority, but rather in reducing the long-standing Liberal Party to just 34 of the 308 seats in Canada’s Parliament and becoming the Official Opposition on the back of a popularity wave that started, of all places, in Quebec.  Continue reading Mulcair emerges as NDP leader