Chocolate Alliances


Although another election awaiting us in autumn, and considering the fact that since 1990 there has never been an election is awaiting us in autumn, considering, we can hardly regard it simply as “another” because we have to admit that like the others, this one too will be crucial and decisive.

The election campaigns have yet to begin, benefits can already be seen and it is becoming increasingly clear who is with whom, who supports whom, and who is fed from which sources and how, though we can’t really apply this to the political parties themselves yet. The only way to foresee who will take which side and to which extent, is by considering the current regrouping of the media. Rustavi 2 and the United National Movement are yet again like an inseparable Twix bar: together, yet alone, just as they were 15 years ago. At that time too, during President Eduard Shevardnadze’s reign, all media was pro-government, while Rustavi 2 stood with the UNM at the other side of the barricades. Despite this solitude, Rustavi 2 is such a “well-oiled colt” that it was still be able to attain a lot. The revolutionary atmosphere that proved a turning point in autumn 2003 was created precisely by this broadcaster. However, it is hard to foretell whether it will be able to trigger a revolutionary spark this time as well. If we use classics as a guidebook, then it all “depends”. For now, the “main television broadcaster” and the main opposition party are busy selecting a UNM presidential candidate. Unlike the pro-governmental media, who paid attention to Mikheil Saakashvili’s call for unification of the oppositional front and agreed on a single presidential candidate – absurd.

Consider European Georgia, the division of the UNM, and its media channels Tabula, Prime Time, TV Pirveli, who actively promote the utopianism of unification, but also actively cover midterm elections in Khoni, where Gigi Ugulava, the leader of European Georgia, is running for the post. On its part, the Georgian Dream’s government appreciates the contribution and famous “constructiveness” of that party. Hence Mr. Ugulava, surrounded by his electorate, can be seen more and more often on the governmental media channels like Imedi, Georgian Public Broadcasting and TV Palitra. To put it simply, European Georgia refuses to take part in a unified reign against Ivanishvili and is satisfied with Ugulava’s mandate as an MP, apparently a prize which the GD government will award the latter by the end of April.

Like Tabula and Prime Time, TV-Obiektivi is also actively propagating the utopianism of the union of opposition. But the fact the channel belongs to the Alliance of Patriots means it demands not just the unification of the oppositional front, but a court trial of the UNM. The government’s media resources Imedi, GPB, Palitra and countless other informational agencies simultaneously and unanimously argue that unification of the opposition is impossible, especially around the UNM.

NDI’s recent study, published in January, revealed that Georgian Dream is supported by 27% of the Georgian population, United National Movement by 10%, European Georgia by 3% and all other oppositional parties taken together by 7%. Obviously, the overall score of the opposition is quite behind than that of governmental supporters, but considering the army of the remaining 53%, it might be quite easy to fill out the difference.

The current political spectrum is significatly behind Georgian Dream in terms of financial, administrative or organizational resources, except for intellectual, which quite frankly is the only trump card of the opposition for the upcoming autumn battles. Hence, we can assume that in order to avoid losing a vote given to one of the oppositional candidates automatically, the opposition will most likely agree to choose a single candidate anyway.

Zaza Jgarkava

12 March 2018 19:31