Will GD Name Its Presidential Candidate?

While the opposition parties have named their presidential candidates, it remains unknown whether the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) will have their own presidential candidate or not.

Following various comments made by the majority members regarding the issue, the GD founder and Chair, ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili named several candidates from the team who might be suitable for the President’s post: Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani; the Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs, David Sergeenko; ex-Minister of Refugees Sozar Subari; and the PM’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze.

However, after naming the possible candidates, the GD Chair noted he thinks the ruling party should not name their candidate yet in order to give more space to the opposition and independent MPs, a demonstration of the high-level of democracy in the country.

“If there is a worthy independent MP, we will support this person and if not, the opposition parties can fight for the post,” Ivanishvili told Georgia’s Public Broadcaster.

If this happens, it will be the first case in the history of independent Georgia where the ruling party does not take part in the presidential elections.

GD parliamentary majority leader, Archil Talakvadze says there are some worthy candidates within the party, including Ivanishvili himself.

“There is a great wish in society to see Bidzina Ivanishvili as the president but as we know, the GD Chair has no wish to take part in the elections,” Talakvadze noted.

The presidential candidate of 10 opposition parties, Grigol Vashadze says it is not important who the GD presidential candidate will be as all of them obey Ivanishvili and will act the same way.

“This is a team of unprofessional, corrupt and uneducated people and the population of Georgia should not support their candidate,” Vashadze stated.

David Bakradze, presidential candidate of the parliamentary minority European Georgia, says any independent MP who is supported by the ruling party, will become a GD member as he or she will use all the resources of the GD to win the elections.

“Ivanishvili realized that the GD has exhausted all its political resources and this is why he wants to bring in a so called independent candidate, which is a step of false democracy,” the MP noted.

Another presidential candidate, Nino Burjanadze, the leader of the Russia-affiliated Democratic Movement-United Georgia, says it is “shameful” that the ruling party cannot name a presidential candidate.

“It has never happened in any country that a ruling party, which has been in power for six years, has no presidential candidate,” she added.

Analysts say Ivanishvili likes surprises and he might suddenly decide to take part in the elections, or he might be testing society with this step, trying to judge what people think about it.

“I doubt GD will support no-one and let the opposition take the President’s post,” expert Gia Nodia stated.

Georgian PM, Mamuka Bakhtadze stated on July 26 that he agrees with Ivanishvili’s position that GD should not name its own candidate. “The Georgian Dream philosophy was to establish a real European parliamentary democracy and Parliamentary Republic in Georgia…We have many worthy candidates, but it would be better if GD did not present a candidate. This will be better for our democracy,” he said.

The presidential elections in Georgia will take place in late October.

By Thea Morrison

26 July 2018 18:13