My paper for the Foreign Policy Centre, on Georgia’s opposition alliance between Bidzina Ivanishvili and Irakli Alasania, has just been published here.
My main point is to have even a realistic chance of defeating President Saakashvili in October’s parliamentary election, the coalition has to work together and in harmony. Each of the partners bring something to the table: Alasania brings political experience and the common touch; Ivanishvili brings star power, and a vast war-chest for the unglamorous logistics of a nationwide campaign (the Republicans’ Davit Usupashvili is also in the coalition although with a much lower profile).
The biggest danger is that the coalition will crack up, as alliances in Georgia’s fractious political landscape tend to do, under the weight of its leading personalities. In particular, Ivanishvili already seems to be overshadowing his coalition partners.
If he ends up falling into the Messiah trap – “only I can save this country and I must do it alone” – he will become just one more player among Georgia’s myriad opposition parties. Unifying that opposition is going to be essential to breaking the government’s hold on power.