They Say the Numbers Don’t Lie, But…


The more time goes by, the more important the question of “what does the Dream want?” becomes. If it is good results in the upcoming parliamentary elections, as the recent results published by NDI show, their ratings have plunged substantially. Although the governmental party is still holding top position, the United National Movement and the rest of the oppositional parties together are set to defeat Ivanishvili’s party with a great advantage. There is quite a lot of time until October and this picture can change numerous times, but in whose favor will it be? Making forecasts in a country where a 3-minute reconstruction clip can turn everything upside down is truly hard, but not impossible.

As they say, the numbers don’t lie and if we recall what happened four years ago, it should help us to better envision the clashes that could take place in autumn. In the parliamentary elections of 2016, there was a 52% turnout, which is about 1.8 million voters. The Georgian Dream got only 48%, which is about 936 thousand votes, which was enough for it to form a constitutional majority in Parliament. This was a total of 115 mandates of MPs, 44 from proportional lists and 71 from Majoritarian. These figures are a clear indication of why the Georgian Dream does not want to change the electoral system and why it staged a performance which aimed at preventing the change to the electoral system last November.

It is not hard to understand what the Dream and Ivanishvili want in a country of 4.5 million, where only 1/5th support is enough to come to power and rule the country the way you want to. This is where the vicious urge for uncontrolled power emerged. Yet, on the two-year anniversary of the “triumphal” victory, the electorate sent the first signals of discontent towards Ivanishvili. In 2018, about 200 thousand voters said no to the ruling party. Although Ivanishvili “corrected” this “flaw” using various electoral manipulations in the second round, it is clear that two years after those elections, the number of Dream supports has decreased even further. This is what NDI’s latest poll proved, and it became clear that the former Dream electorate has actually distributed itself over the oppositional spectrum.

Now it is clear why the government offered the opposition the option of implementing the electoral system 100/50, as it wants to compensate the loss at the expense of the guaranteed 50 majoritarians, plus 40 mandates from proportional, which eventually equals 60% in the 150-member parliament. “Dream’s declared chronicles of victory” is how this offer could be labeled.

Although the opposition has refused this offer from Ivanishvili, and most likely will need to agree to the existing system, they are still hopeful enough to boast that victory over the government is inevitable and that the said offer won’t change this. The governing party Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia will lose the elections if the elections are held by this mixed system, because the opposition will be nominating unified candidates in the one-mandate electoral districts.

The monolithism of the opposition has triggered discussions about snap elections even in corridors of the government itself, which could take place at the end of March or beginning of April. Which direction the Dream and Ivanishvili are taking the country is very difficult to discern, especially since changing the order of addends does not change the sum.

By Zaza Jgarkava


13 February 2020 17:09