Ivanishvili Addresses the Georgian People

Bidzina Ivanishvili, Chairperson of the ruling political team, Georgian Dream (GD), addressed citizens on Monday following last week’s presidential elections, which resulted in a call for a second-round between Salome Zurabishvili (the GD-supported candidate) and Grigol Vashadze (UNM), set to take place on December 2. He spoke of his recognition of citizen discontent and why that should be short-lived as the country moves forward.

“I want to tell you that I understand you well!” the billionaire ex-PM told Georgia. “I hear your grief and frustration; I understand that you are dissatisfied because your life has not improved significantly; I understand that you are dissatisfied because you think that some employees care more for themselves than their people. You are dissatisfied because you think that today's government has failed to restore justice.

“I am not going to focus now on the 9-year regime that trampled on your rights and dignity… Today, it is important to see that our homeland is still on its historic path, and though there is a high risk of wrong decisions being made, we should see it as a new opportunity…It is an opportunity to achieve the ultimate goal - a better future for the people. If Georgian Dream fails to do its job, I will be the first to speak up. We cannot let the mistakes and criticisms of others take the values that are so dear to us. Our opponents are trying to overturn everything- they do not want to correct past mistakes. Their campaign is shamelessly lie-based. They openly state they will release those convicted for the torture and oppression of their people, which, in addition to insulting the public, is a threat of direct destabilization.

“In 2012, we removed a violence-based regime. We went through a very difficult period and have tried to move the country towards stable development. We have achieved many important successes on this road: Business is free from state interference, the media is free; in the most difficult economic environment, we have obtained regional leadership and our American and European friends in the international arena are increasingly looking at integrating our country into NATO and the EU.

“Despite the numerous risks, since independence, Georgia has never had such a stable period of development. And despite these successes, the main challenge in the country remains poverty. Consequently, we need decisive changes, first of all for socially vulnerable groups.”

“Young people should be involved in the development of the country's governance and policy,” he said. “My friends, the life of the country is coming to a turning point when the people themselves are becoming the authors of the epochal changes… I know your pain, I know the reasons for your discontent. I promise you that all patriots will find their place in their homeland in our united family and nobody will remain without attention.”

Mr. Ivanishvili closed by making a promise: “I am taking the responsibility to redress in one year all the errors of governance, and I will use all resources available to me, so that the development of the country becomes irreversible.”



Address of the Chairman of the Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia Political Union

I would like to address my fellow Georgians.

I am addressing you because of my immense responsibility to you.

First, I would like to thank those who reiterated their trust in us, those who, despite numerous problems, believe in the path chosen by us!

Today, however, it is imperative to address those discouraged.

I want you to know that I understand you very well. I understand your heartache and disappointment.

I understand that you are dissatisfied because your lives have not improved drastically.

I understand that you are dissatisfied because you believe that some officials care more for their own welfare than of the wellbeing of the people.

You are dissatisfied because you believe that the current authorities have failed to restore justice.

Many of you are angry because we have made possible the threat of a violent regime’s comeback.

Today, I will not speak about the 9-year regime that trampled down all rights, dignity, and many of you and your families experienced it firsthand.

I will not speak about our achievements either.

What is most important today is that our homeland once again faces a historical crossroads. There is a high risk of making a wrong decision, yet it is the best time for new opportunities and renovation.

A few months ago, I had to return to politics. I had to because I saw problems deepen with no effective mechanisms to address them. It turned out, however, that the people saw these problems much clearer and deeper. I must agree with you.

But there is something we all must remember!

Our opponent is not a political party. Today, unfortunately, we stand opposite the same brutes united for revenge. We are facing an ordeal, and we allowed this ordeal to happen.

When the authorities distance themselves from the people, they lose public trust, and now I want everyone to hear that the sole purpose of our political union is to serve the people. I do not want anyone to think that the party is of any value on its own. It is only a way to reach the ultimate goal of ensuring a better future for the people. This is why I will be the first to go against Georgian Dream if it fails and against any branch if it fails to serve the people. At the same time, we cannot let these mistakes be used by the force which, in reality, wants to obliterate every value that is so dear to us. These mistakes must be considered properly and criticized. The opponents, however, use their machinery of deceit working at full throttle to strike out everything—they do not want to correct mistakes! They want to destroy everything, and do it at any cost, which is most unfortunate!

The only campaign the opponents are holding is that based on lies. They shamelessly promise the people that which is beyond the purview of president in a parliamentary system. At the same time, they openly announce the release of those charged with torture and abuse, which besides being an insult hurled against society, poses a direct threat of destabilization.

In 2012, we got rid of a regime sustained by violence. We have been through a most difficult period, trying to put the country on the right track of stable development. On this path, we have numerous significant achievements:

Business is now free from state racketeering, the media is free, more than one far-reaching social program has been implemented, we have claimed regional leadership in a very difficult economic environment, and many others.

In the international arena, our American and European friends see it increasingly feasible and realistic for our country to integrate into NATO and the EU.

Despite many risks, Georgia enjoys the best years of stable development since the restoration of independence.

And yet, despite these successes, poverty remains the main challenge in the country. Consequently, above all else, we need decisive changes for the most vulnerable social groups. Unlike many populists, I will not of course cite particular statistics, but I will make a point of saying that the benefits and assistance for pensioners and IDPs must be reconsidered drastically! Caring for them is a matter of our dignity, and we must be able to do it!

Human resource policies must be amended promptly to be based on experienced human resources and constantly to attract new ones, especially youth. Youth must be engaged in our country’s governance and policy-making!

My friends, at certain breakthrough moments in the country’s life the people themselves become the architects of milestone changes, and our nation has exhibited this kind of wisdom more than once.

I would like to address Georgian Dream’s old guard, those who accomplished the impossible in those historic days of 2012. Georgia is once again in need of your loyalty and experience, your civil heroism. I understand your heartache, and I am aware of every reason behind your anger. I promise you that every patriot will find a due place worthy of their merit in our unified family—nobody’s merit will be neglected!

Let me remind you what I said before the election. That in one year’s time I pledge to correct every mistake in governance and to use all my resources to ensure the irreversibility of the country’s development.

Importantly, we should not let our displeasure with the government and individual officials feed our desire to punish the authorities while, in reality, punishing our own future and our own country, lest we waste everything we dedicated our lives to in 2012.

I am convinced that we will make a choice in support of the people’s wellbeing, freedom, and dignity, and that together we will succeed in building a modern Georgia focused on human being!

05 November 2018 16:46