Georgian Dream begins election campaign
By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Wednesday, July 22The ruling team has officially started the election campaign and is preparing to win the elections. Eventually, it will be confronted by a highly diverse opposition team. The main demand of both the opposition and Georgia’s Western friends to the government remains unchanged - to ensure that the next parliamentary elections are held in a democratic manner.
On July 14, the Georgian Dream appointed Irakli Kobakhidze, the party's executive secretary, as head of the election headquarters. Representatives of the ruling team also said many positive words towards Kobakhidze. It was noted that Irakli Kobakhidze is an experienced professional, he feels good about the election process, his name is always associated with success and it will be the same during the next parliamentary elections. Kobakhidze is known for his harsh remarks against the opposition, and it is likely that the ruling party's election campaign will end in a similar style.
The Georgian Dream has a difficult job ahead of it to determine the list of its 30 MPs. It is also mentioned that the party will present new faces before the elections, replacing those with lower ratings. The party stated that Archil Talakvadze will remain as the head of the Parliament.
It is clear to everyone that the decisive vote in compiling the pre-election list belongs to the party chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili. It was also mentioned that Bidzina Ivanishvili was remotely involved in the meeting of the election headquarters. This became a subject of irony on the part of the opposition, as Ivanishvili had not appeared in public for several months after the outbreak of the epidemic.
According to the comments made by the opposition and experts, Bidzina Ivanishvili will definitely be at the top of the Georgian Dream's electoral list, but they also point out that Ivanishvili's rating, unlike before, is sharply reduced. Some even think that Ivanishvili needs the mandate of an MP for immunity - if sanctions are really imposed on him, which has been talked about by a small group of US congressmen so far.
The opposition has been preparing for the elections for a long time. By July 15th, political parties that do not have a representative in the parliament have to apply to the Election Administration of Georgia - there are 68 such parties.Whatever the case, the 1% threshold in proportional elections is appetizing for many. Of these parties, 14 have already been registered, one has been rejected and 53 are under consideration.
The list of election subjects in the ballot paper given to the voters will be very long. Clearly, this will benefit the ruling party more than the opposition, which includes open or concealed allies of the government.
In the upcoming elections, the Georgian Dream and its main opponent, the United Opposition, are announcing their future victory. Irakli Kobakhidze has repeatedly mentioned the opposition with a 3% rating, which is afraid of elections and which will be easily defeated. For his part, Giorgi Vashadze, one of the leaders of the opposition, said that the Georgian Dream cannot get more than 30% of the maximum number of votes.
One by one, the political parties in the United Opposition have stated that they do not intend to leave the union. Recently, there was a great resonance with the information that the "National Movement" was going to leave the union. The party leaders categorically denied it.United Opposition agreed that they would have a common majoritarian candidate in Tbilisi, and in other constituencies they would support the opposition candidate who won in the second round, unless, of course, the case went to the second round.
The Western friends of Georgian continue to call on the authorities to conduct the upcoming parliamentary elections, scheduled for October 31st, in accordance with democratic standards. 15% of the US's aid to Georgia will be frozen in case of violations and such a sanction had never been imposed on Georgia's strategic partner before. A few days ago, MEPs also called on the Georgian government to hold democratic elections. They hope that the coming parliamentary elections will be an important testament to Georgia's democracy and that the pre-election period will end in a fair, competitive environment. The European Parliament will adopt a resolution on Georgia in September, further developments in the pre-election period will either tighten or soften the wording of the draft resolution.
(Translated from Georgian by Mariam Mchedlidze)