Monday's vote determines the future of Rose Revolution.
More than any national election since 1990, the Georgian parliamentary election to be held on October 1 is a potential major turning point in the country's history.
At one level, the election is a naked struggle for power in which President Mikheil Saakashvili's embattled United National Movement (ENM) has resorted to increasingly desperate measures to neutralize the threat posed by the opposition Georgian Dream bloc headed by billionaire philanthropist Bidzina Ivanishvili. But it is also, as Thomas de Waal pointed out in a recent interview, a referendum on the relative credentials and credibility of Ivanishvili and the ENM.
According to de Waal the poll also represents an opportunity for Georgians to demonstrate their commitment to democratization. He maintains that it offers them a chance to break free from the lingering Soviet-era mindset that opts to play safe by voting for the ruling party. If this happens, it could bring about Georgia's first-ever post-Soviet peaceful and constitutional transition of power.
A total of 14 parties and two blocs have registered to compete for 150 parliamentary mandates (77 under the proportional party-list system and 73 in single-mandate constituencies ). Three opposition parties - United Georgia, Georgia's Path, and the Greens - opted not to run against Georgian Dream. The general consensus among observers is that, apart from the ENM and Georgian Dream, only the Christian Democrats bloc and possibly the New Rightists and the populist Labor Party stand a chance of winning parliamentary representation.