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Saakashvili Remains Noncommittal on Prime Ministerial Prospects
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 1 Feb.'12 / 13:49

President Saakashvili continued to adhere to his long-standing policy of remaining evasive about his post-presidential plans again citing his unwillingness to turn himself into a lame duck president.

When asked about it Saakashvili told a group of reporters in Washington on January 31, as reported by number of media outlets, including by Bloomberg, The Washington Times and Foreign Policy: “The last thing I want to do is turn myself into a lame duck by speculating about my own future.”

“Sometimes people ask, ‘are you going to be Putin?’ By definition, Georgia can have no Putin because Georgia is not Russia, A, and B, we are right now doing things that will enable us never to have anything like Putin in Georgia forever,” Saakashvili was quoted.

Whenever he was asked previously whether he would try to stay in power or not as Prime Minister, whose powers will be increased after new constitution goes into force following expiration of Saakashvili’s second and final presidential term in late 2013, he was responding that he would not comment on that in order not to undermine his reform agenda by becoming a lame duck president.

Saakashvili, who met President Obama at the White House on January 30, spoke on January 31 to an audience at the World Bank, which unveiled its study on Georgia’s reforms: Fighting Corruption in Public Services - Chronicling Georgia’s Reforms.

The study says that Georgia’s experience destroys the myth that corruption is culture; it also says that Georgia sets an example for many other countries whose leadership aspires to clean up public services.

The report provides case studies based on data from Georgia’s number of public services, including patrol police, tax service, customs, power supply, business regulations, civil and public registries, university entrance exams, and municipal services.

According to the report, the case studies showed ten key factors behind Georgia’s achievements: exercising strong political will; establishing credibility early; launching a frontal assault; attracting new staff; limiting the state’s role; adopting unconventional methods; coordinating closely; tailoring international experience to local conditions; harnessing technology; and using communications strategically.

“While many of these factors may seem obvious, the comprehensiveness, boldness, pace, and sequencing of the reforms make Georgia's story unique,” the World Bank said.

Also in Washington, President Saakashvili met with members from the U.S. Senate committee on foreign relations, including its chairman John Kerry, as well as with Richard Lugar, Benjamin L. Cardin, Tom Udall and Jeanne Shaheen, according to the Georgian President’s press office.

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