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Candidates of opposition political parties will be rivals in the 2018 presidential elections – the ruling party is not going to nominate their candida

30.07.2018

Lana Giorgidze

The ruling political party will not have a candidate in the 2018 Presidential Elections, which is scheduled in October, 2018 but the opposition political parties already nominated their candidates.

“We have several candidates, who can receive significant results in the elections but for our democracy it will be better if the Georgian Dream will not have its candidate in the presidential elections,” the Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said during the briefing in the Government’s Administration on July 26. 

“While we have the constitutional majority in the parliament, it will be better for our democracy if the GD will not have its candidate in the presidential elections. Both arguments are strong enough. Considering that, we are having consultations. I want to say that we have very contextual discussions and as the chairperson of the political party said, we will inform the society about the final decision,” PM Mamuka Bakhtadze said.

United National Movement, together with several opposition parties, nominated Grigol Vashadze as their presidential candidate. Davit Bakradze will be presidential candidate of the European Georgia; Zurab Japaridze will be the candidate of Girchi; Davit Usufashvili, member of the Movement for Construction, is not backed by any political party as a candidate; acting president Giorgi Margvelashvili has not decided anything yet. 

On July 17, ten opposition political parties presented their common presidential candidate in the yard of the Bagrat Church in Kutaisi. After presentation, Grigol Vashadze spoke about his plans and program, which he will implement if elected.

First step towards national consensus, first step for the national consent was already taken by creating public movement, whose leaders are here and I am sure these people, who honestly served the state, majority of them were in public service but majority of them did not participate in politics. These people will do much good for our main goal.

We cannot achieve main national goal unless we give up fake political correctness and will not start speaking about everything openly. We will not achieve our goal if we will fear of extraordinary steps, if we stay inactive, we all know who quashed the opposition for the past six years. But it is our fault that we spent those six years in this situation. It is our fault, it is because of lack of our initiative, because of our phobias, no connection with people and on top of it –our mistrust towards each other. It must finish and will finish because Power is in Unity,” Grigol Vashadze said during the meeting in Kutaisi.

“Grigol Vashadze must become the president; he is a stable person, who has a special diamond in the family – publicist Tako Charkviani said during the presentation of the presidential candidate of the UNM and union Power is in Unity.

Tako Charkviani said she will vote for Vashadze as he is a brilliant person and professional diplomat.

Grigol Vashadze was the candidate of Kutaisi mayor during 2017 municipal elections. From 1990 to 2008 he was running his private business. On February 6, 2008 he was appointed to the position of the deputy minister of foreign affairs of Georgia. On November 2, 2008 he became the Minister of Culture, Movement Protection and Sport of Georgia; from December 6, 2018 to 2012 he was foreign minister of Georgia.

“I have an impression that the UNM purposefully nominated weak candidate for the presidential elections,”
chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze reacted to the nomination of Grigol Vashadze as the presidential candidate for the October elections.

“There was a doubt that the UNM planned to cancel their candidate in favor of concrete candidate. You can guess it easily who this candidate is and who may be the most acceptable for the UNM. Their decision about the candidate reinforced our doubts. He is a weak candidate and why the UNM needs to have a weak candidate, you can guess yourself,” Irakli Kobakhidze told journalists.

On July 21 the opposition party European Georgia nominated presidential candidate Davit Bakradze in the Sport Palace in Kutaisi. 

As one of the leaders of the European Georgia Gigi Ugulava said today the country needs the president, who will unify the society and will convince people that we must hope for the future.

Davit Bakradze is the leader of the parliamentary minority. In the 2013 Presidential Elections he was the presidential candidate of the UNM. In 2008-2012 he was chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia.

“Georgia needs progress, defeat of Ivanishvili’s team and victory of the European Georgia,” Giga Bokeria told their supporters in the Kutaisi Sport Palace.

“Thank you for your hope, for your trust and thank you for struggling together with us; but we are not tired and will not get tired in our fight for the better future of our country. If we struggle, if we stay together, Georgia will go forward and be better,” Davit Bakradze said on July 21 in Kutaisi.

He added that he will not aim to fight against concrete persons; his main goal will be to defeat lack of hope, poverty and the question “nothing will save us?” 

Member of the Movement for Construction Davit Usufashvili is also presidential candidate; he announced about it on TV-Pirveli.

He said, the society, who wants to establish correct governance, shall vote for him. The leader of the Movement for Construction said it will be pleasant for the voters to choose most appropriate candidate among the candidates in the upcoming presidential elections. He believes, people will have to choose the best among good candidates. 

“I am sure that the people, who trusted the changes in 2012 but are frustrated now, wish to establish and reinforce those values and principles in the country. I consider that I am one of similar candidates,” Davit Usupashvili said.

Besides the nominated candidates, media report about possible independent presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili. The leader of the parliamentary majority Archil Talakvadze spoke about her. He said Bidzina Ivanishvili has encouraged independent candidates with his statement.

“Mrs. Salome Zurabishvili is a respectful person in our country, abroad and in the Parliament. If she decides to participate in the presidential elections, she will really be one of the strongest candidates. However, we will decide in near future what we will announce with regard to presidential elections,” Talakvadze said. 

Zurabishvili denied information about her negotiations with the Georgian Dream and has not nominated her candidature yet. 

Humanrights.ge interviewed expert Mamuka Areshidze to evaluate the nominated candidates. 

“I think Davit Usupashvili is the most valuable candidate considering his political experience. Besides that, his connections are also important. As for other candidates, I can predict how they will divide the votes of the people, who dislike the authority. Considering that, none of the candidates will win the elections. Those voters, who dislike the UNM but do not like GD either, will support Usupashvili. Indeed, Usupashvili will have his electorate too. Everything depends on financial resources but the UNM has the most financial resources and their candidate Vashadze did not gain much support in the municipal elections in Kutaisi. So, why should he have particular chances in the presidential elections now? Nevertheless, I cannot agree with the chairperson of the parliament that the UNM purposefully nominated the weak candidate in favor of Davit Bakradze because I cannot see similar alliance between the two parties. Besides that, Vashadze is not the person, who would nominate himself, if he suspects that his party does not support him. However, there is memorandum between these parties and if the candidates of either of them will pass the second tour, the second party will automatically support the other,” Mamuka Areshidze told humanrights.ge. 

The nominated presidential candidates have about 2 months to conduct their pre-election campaigns. The Presidential Elections is scheduled in October, 2018. 

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