Welcome to the presidential election circus in Georgia
19 November, 2018
Welcome to the presidential election circus in Georgia
Before the first round of presidential elections took place, the ruling party “Georgian Dream” was certain of success. Party leader, former prime minister and oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili even publicly congratulated the officially independent candidate Salome Zurabishvili who is backed by the ruling party on her victory. Notabene, before the results of the election were known. For me - a Swiss journalist on an eight week traineeship abroad – this behavior was already outlandish to say
the least.

geotv.ge
Salome Zurabishvili is smiling at the people from every corner in Tbilisi

However, during the last couple of days I was rubbing my eyes once more. As a second-round runoff will be held next week, I obviously was expecting new election banners to hang in Tbilisi. Just like before the first round, Salome Zurabishvili banners are omnipresent in the city while those of the united opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze are less common.

But simultaneously, other banners were hung up too. On them you see the ruling party leader Bidzina Ivanishvili – although he isn’t a presidential candidate, as everybody knows.

geotv.ge
“Election” banner of ruling party leader Bidzina Ivanishvili

For those who aren’t able to read Georgian, let me translate what is written on this banner:
"A fundamental choice, dignity, freedom, development"
And further down there is the election number 48 of Salome Zurabishvili as well as her name.
Please note that the name of Ivanishvili doesn’t appear on the banner. But what is his face doing up there?


The ruling party displays nerves


The fact that the ruling party leader feels obliged to show his support for his candidate in this way isn’t just strange. It proofs also that the initial confidence in “Georgian Dream” has vanished. And there are good reasons for this latest nervousness. First, Zurabishvili’s lead over Vashadze in the first round was paper-thin. Second, the third-placed Davit Bakradze – he got 11 percent of the votes – declared his support for Vashadze in the meantime.

geotv.ge
These montages show the prime minister and a famous pianist on banners like the ones of ruling party leader Bidzina Ivanishvili

But no matter what kind of reasons there might be. In my opinion this kind of interfering into the presidential election by the ruling party leader is dubious – and something to laugh at (if only the matter wasn’t so serious). And I’m not the only one. Meanwhile Georgians started joking about the so called “transgender banners”. People are posting all kind of montages in the web with various people on presidential election banners.

But the banners with Ivanishvili aren’t the only curiosity that has struck me lately. Also the party “Patriotic Alliance” who is backing Salome Zurabishvili shows its support in a peculiar manner.

geotv.ge
“Say no to the National Movement party, say no to evil” – is written on this banner

Their banners show prominently the former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, who lives in exile in the Netherlands. He is surrounded by other people among them Nika Gvaramia, head of the opposition channel Rustavi 2, and the actual presidential candidate Grigol Vashadze – an ally of Saakashvili. This display has several subtle messages. One of them suggests that with Vashadze becoming president chaos and war will return to Georgia. Just like in 2008, during the Georgian-Russian war when Saakashvili was president. Saakasvhili, the leader of the Rose Revolution, lives in exile in the Netherlands right now in order to avoid prison. This year, he was condemned to several years in prison due to misuse of power by a Georgian court.

geotv.ge
Salome Zurabishvili thanked the popular pianist for her alleged support on Facebook

And last but not least, let me mention another embarrassing incident. Last Friday, the famous Georgian pianist Khatia Buniatishvili posted on her Facebook account a picture promoting a new movie about her and a concert that took place in Georgia. “48 Stunden in Georgien” is the German title of the movie. Obviously, Salome Zurabishvili got misled by the number 48 that is her official list number in the presidential election. She thanked the pianist for her support, although there is no connection between the film title, which means “48 hours in Georgia” and the election.

Don’t get me wrong: I haven’t written this blog post in order to dismantle the supporters of Salome Zurabishvili. But to tell you, what many people here in Georgia think. Namely, that the whole presidential election has become something of a laughing stock. Somehow, the laughter sticks in my throat. Georgia and the Georgian people have deserved better than this.

Author: Martina Polek

Related stories:

Mikheil Saakashvili wants to return to Georgia and clear his name

International observers about the presidential election in Georgia

Funny incidents on Election Day in Georgia

Print
Other Stories
Bidzina Ivanishvili: "Who want closure of Russian market, are Georgia’s enemies"
Those, who tell-tale that we must replace the Russian market by the European and Ukrainian ones, are absolutely ignorant and uneducated,
Why Georgia is changing the mixed electoral system in favor of the proportional?
The Chairman of the Parliament Archil Talakvadze explained why Georgia has to change its mixed electoral system in favor of the proportional.
Why was the Ambassador of Georgia summoned to Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry - what does Azeri media say?
Azeri media has released information about the ambassador of Georgia being called at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.
Georgian side denies accusations against the Azeri border guards
Georgian citizens provoked an incident against Shamkir border group of Border Troops of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan (SBS)
Donald Tusk: "The collapse of the Soviet Union was very positive"
I want to say loudly from this tribune - the collapse of the Soviet Union was very positive, - Donald Tusk,
Donald Tusk reads a quote from Vazha Pshavela’s letter in Georgian
President of the Council of Europe Donald Tusk read a quote from Georgian writer
Economist: “An unwelcome Russian visitor has helped to revive an old antagonism”
Economist has recently published an article reviewing the recent events taking place in Georgia.
Russian Duma supports sanctions against Georgia, President Putin opposes
The Russian Duma supported sanctions against Georgia.
Prosecutor: Individuals planned to overthrow the state government
On the night of 20th of June, 2019, individuals were planned to violently overthrow the state government through uprising,
Court releases Nika Melia on GEL 30, 000 bail
The Tbilisi City Court sentenced Nika Melia to GEL 30, 000 bail at today’s court hearing.
Parliament suspends Nika Melia's MP's immunity
Nika Melia, the member of the opposition “United National Movement” party, has arrived at Tbilisi City Court.
"Russian Church blackmails Georgian Patriarchate" - Claims Ukraine's Rada member
Victor Yelenskyj was the head of the Ukrainian delegation at that fateful Interparliamentary Ortho­dox Assembly in Tbilisi that sparked the protests still ongoing to this day.
What the Protests in Tbilisi Mean for Relations with Russia
The protests in the center of Tbilisi over the Russian MP’s presence in Georgian parliament caused a nation-wide outburst against the ruling Georgian Dream party and Russia.
Government agrees to one of the protesters demands: Proportional Elections in 2020
The government has agreed to hold proportional parliamentary elections in Georgia in 2020.
Russia bans flights to Georgia from July 8
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree yesterday prohibiting Russian airlines from carrying Russian citizens to Georgia from July 8.
Zakaria Kutsnashvili renounces his MP mandate
Zakaria Kutsnashvili, who was the head of the Georgian delegation in the Inter-parliamentary Session on Orthodoxy, has renounced his MP mandate.
Police use teargas, rubber bullets against protesters, says Human Rights Watch
Riot police in Tbilisi fired rubber bullets and used teargas without warning against thousands of nonviolent protesters
Russian lawmaker demands “official apology” from Tbilisi
Tbilisi should give its formal apology to Russia for the provocations against Russian delegates in the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy,
Georgian police used teargas, rubber Bullets and water cannon against protesters
Police in Georgia used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to stop protesters entering the country’s parliament on Friday.
Gavrilov: "Russia and Georgia are united by the brotherly orthodox union"
The citizens of Georgia are protesting against the conduct of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy in Georgia, which was led by Russian Deputy Sergey Gavrilov.
Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy canceled following public outrage
The session of Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy held at Parliament of Georgia has been canceled after the protest.
The Russian deputy in the Chairman’s chair of the Parliament of Georgia
The Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy is taking place between the 19th and 22nd of June in Tbilisi.
Michael Carpenter about Georgia's open policy with Russia
Michael Carpenter has recently tweeted about Georgia's open policy with Russia.
Another Georgian David Arakhamia to work with President Zelensky
Georgian businessman David Arakhamia also known as David Brown is another Georgian to join President Zelensky’s team in Ukraine.
What Do the EP Elections Mean for Georgia?
The European Parliament elections are over, with the liberal wing sighing with relief, while the right wingers can smugly point to the increase to 25% of representation in the world 's second largest democratically elected parliament.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
19.07.2019
20.07.2019
USD
1
USD
2.8714
2.8845
EUR
1
EUR
3.2191
3.2410
GBP
1
GBP
3.5832
3.6177
RUB
100
RUB
4.5608
4.5787
Other Stories
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.8845
EUR
1
EUR
3.2410
GBP
1
GBP
3.6177
RUB
100
RUB
4.5787
July 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31