News agencies have been reporting in the last few minutes that President Mikhail Saakashvili has declared there will be a snap presidential election on Jan. 5.
If true, it's a wise move by President Misha. His move to crack down on protests this week and declare a state of emergency smelled of the kind of autocracy he once stood against.
It's also politically smart: the opposition so far doesn't have a single figure it can rally around, now they have less than two months to find someone. Unless Nino Burjanadze, the popular speaker of parliament and a loyal Saakashvili ally, can be convinced to run against him, Saakashvili's main contender is likely to be the controversial ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili, who is currently in exile in Germany, avoiding prosecution on corruption charges.
Saakashvili's decision to deploy soldiers on the streets of Tbilisi to quell the opposition protests this week shouldn't be forgotten, or forgiven, but I'd still bet that Misha comes out of this smelling, well, like roses.