Speaker of the Georgian parliament Nino Burjanadze will not seek reelection in the May 21 elections, where she was expected to head the party list of the ruling United National Movement. According to Kommersant, this practically means her departure from politics. She was the last remaining of the politicians who helped Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili come to power in the Rose Revolution.
Burjanadze expressed the hope that her exit would not cause “a political, much less state crisis.” The influential politician, who was twice elected speaker of the parliament (the first time in 2001 under president Eduard Shevardnadze, then again after the revolution in 2004), was along with Saakashvili and Zurab Zhvania, one of the key figures in the Rose Revolution. Zhvania, known as the brains behind the revolution, died under mysterious circumstances in 2005.
Burjanadze explained that her decision was due to “differences with the ruling party during the formation of the list of candidates for MP.” Political scientist Nika Imnaishvili told Kommersant, “Burjanadze was unable to contain her emotions after she realized that her personnel was not being included on the list of the ruling party, and that would reduce her chances not only of becoming chairman of the parliament, but also of replacing Saakashvili as president in 2013.” There are signs that her disagreement with the president went even farther than that. Burjanadze stated yesterday that “many things, from the tactical point of view should be changed and the political process needs correcting.”
Burjanadze stated that she would not join the opposition. Another one-time supporter of Saakashvili, Irakly Okruashvili, said the same thing after being in effect fired by Saakashvili from his position as defense minister in November 2006. Less than a year later, he emerged as a major opponent of the president.