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The Editors

Saakashvili’s Best Legacy Is Fair Vote and Graceful Exit

Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili is one of those larger-than-life figures whom people either love or hate, blindly and passionately. To some a beacon of democracy and free-market revolution, to others he’s a deranged autocrat.

On Oct. 1, Georgians will hold elections that could mark the beginning of the end of Saakashvili’s rule. Although his final term as president doesn’t end until next year, changes he engineered to the constitution will shift power then to the prime minister. Next week’s vote is for the chamber that will select that new prime minister. So a lot is at stake in a country that has yet to see a full transfer of power through the ballot box, that hosts big oil and gas pipelines, and that remains partially occupied by Russian troops.