Founder and Chair of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) Party, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s photos have appeared on the election posters and banners of the GD-backed candidate, Salome Zourabichvili.
Bidzina Ivanishvili Appears on Zourabichvili’s Election Posters
By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, November 16
The banners show Ivanishvili on the background of Zourabichvili’s election number and a new slogan – “Principal Choice.”
Georgian Dream also released a new election clip in support of Zourabichvili, which calls on the citizens to make a correct, “principal choice.”
The appearance of Ivanishvili on the banners of Zourabichvili was criticized by the non-governmental sector.
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) Executive Director, Mikheil Benidze says this case might be the violation of election legislation.
“Political officials shall not be prohibited to participate in the campaign. However, what we have seen today is that these people are on billboards, and it is a very strange and dubious practice. If party funds are spent on it, it is obviously a violation of the election legislation and represents an illegal donation,” Benidze stressed.
He added that when there is a female presidential candidate and her photos are substituted with the photos of male representatives, it only enhances the stereotypes.
Moreover, lawyer Levan Alapishvili says that the case should be studied by the State Audit Office.
“The only thing that should be studied is how much it can be considered in the agitation and the Audit Service will consider whether this was a donation of the party to a particular candidate or not,” Alapishvili noted.
Georgian Prime Minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze says Ivanishvili is actively involved in the election campaign and there is nothing special about that he's portrayed on Zourabichvili’s posters.
“The Georgian Dream supports independent candidate Salome Zourabivili. Accordingly, each of us, including the founder of the party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, is actively involved in the election campaign. There is nothing unusual about it,” the PM explained.
The second round of the presidential elections will be held on November 28.