Ivanishvili ‘will step down as PM before the New Year’ – EUobserver
30 July, 2013
Ivanishvili ‘will step down as PM before the New Year’ – EUobserver
The EUobserver website interviewed Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili in hus summer residence in Ureki.
“Georgia's billionaire-Prime-Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has a "dream" for his country's future. But opponents say he is a danger to democracy.
Ivanishvili spoke to EUobserver
in a recent interview at his summer residence in Ureki, on the Black Sea coast.
He said he wants to transform Georgia into a "typically European" society and into a Dubai-type business hub between Europe and Asia.
"It's my dream. There is a possibility, if everything develops ideally. Of course, I don't want to say this too loudly in order not to be laughable. But deep down in my heart, I believe … the possibility exists," he noted.
The 57-year-old businessman made his fortune in metals and banking in 1990s Russia.
He entered politics in 2011 and he unseated the centre-right UNM party of President Mikhail Saakashvili in a free election in 2012.
He told this website it might take "20 years" to make his dream a reality.
He also said he will step down as PM "before the new year" in order to work with NGOs to implement his master plan.
The plan is to purge Georgia of high-level corruption, to build decent schools, hospitals and roads and to attract foreign investors and tourists.
Since coming to power, Ivanishvili's prosecutors have indicted five UNM ex-ministers and several officials and local councillors on charges ranging from misuse of public funds to bribery and contract killings.
The new PM has promised to destroy Saakashvili's "black boxes" - illegal wiretaps, secret videos and data gathered in a mass Internet surveillance programme.
He said the snooping operation is "reminiscent of George Orwell's '1984'," a British novel about totalitarianism.
He added that Saakashvili himself might face trial when his presidential immunity expires in October. "Politically, it is not my desire … But the rule of law applies to everyone," he said.
To maintain credibility, he invited a crowd of foreign monitors, such as Thomas Hammerberg, a Swedish diplomat and Nobel laureate, to oversee his actions. He also threw the book at two of his own ministers who broke the law.
In the economic sphere, he has created a private-sector investment fund which he says will reach $10 billion by the end of the year.
In international relations, he is on the way to initialing an association and free trade pact with the EU in November and he expects to see "a serious step forward" in Georgia-Nato integration in 2014.
He has also improved ties with Russia.
On the one hand, Russia is tightening its military grip on Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. But on the other hand, it has lifted a trade embargo on Georgian mineral water and wine.
Ivanishvili said the more Georgia prospers, the greater the chance Abkhazians and South Ossetians will seek reunification.
"To bring back our brothers, we need to convince them that it's in their interest to live with us," he noted.
Referring to his personal contacts with the Russian elite, he said that "a talented and smart intelligentsia" is slowly changing Russia's "sickly" attitude to its former republics.
But for its part, the UNM party believes Ivanishvili has sinister intentions.
Giga Bokeria, a UNM leader and the outgoing head of Georgia's National Security Council, told EUobserver in Tbilisi that the prosecutions of ex-ministers is "selective justice … with the goal of destroying a major political party."
He admitted the UNM in its nine years in charge made a "grave mistake" by giving too much power to security services.
He described UNM-era incidents of police brutality, torture of prison inmates and the mass snooping operation as "shameful … disgusting."
But he noted: "Tyrannies don't lose elections. They don't concede election results. It's an oxymoron, like hot snow."
He added: "Overall, Georgia was moving toward a liberal democracy … It was a free country. But now I believe there is a real threat."
Bokeria accused Ivanishvili of planning to rule Georgia from behind the scenes after he steps down as PM.
"He wants a puppet government and a balkanised political system, with many weak parties. This would make him invincible in his palace … This is the classic dream of a 1990s' oligarch," he said.
He added: "A democracy where the legitimate players are weak and someone outside the system pulls the strings is not a real democracy."
In Europe, the UNM's main ally, the EPP group of centre-right political parties, has also damned Ivanishvili for using courts for political revenge.
Some EU diplomats remain agnostic, however.
One EU contact, who asked not to be named, said that Saakashvili "monopolised power" and that Georgia now has "an opportunity to become a deep democracy." But he voiced doubt whether Ivanishvili is the right man for the job.
"He is not the first big businessman who, in his mid-50s, wants to prove to himself that he can also do politics. He is learning fast, but he doesn't have the political experience. He doesn't know all the traps," the contact said.
For Bokeria, Ivanishvili has already walked into one pitfall.
He said the PM has given a free rein to populist and far-right elements in his coalition, who say liberal EU values are incompatible with Georgia's Russian Orthodox identity.
He noted that "Orthodox fundamentalist" groups have "mushroomed" in the new political climate.
He also said that Ivanishvili freed from jail dozens of far-right "thugs" whom he labelled as Saakashvili's "political prisoners."
Bokeria, in his role as Georgia's top security advisor, said some of the same men almost beat to death a handful of pro-gay-rights protesters in Tbilisi in May, while Orthodox priests and the police looked on.
Ivanishvili later wrote an op-ed for EUobserver promising to protect minorities.
But Bokeria noted that the PM's domestic statements were "ambivalent" and that nobody faced justice for the assault.
"If they continue tolerating these kinds of groups and praising these kinds of people as heroes, then our country will go to hell," he said’, the article published by EUobserver website reads.

Related Stories:

Bidzina Ivanishvili comments about leaving politics


Georgia’s Changing Russia Policy – RFERL


Georgia prime minister takes on the Washington Post
Print
Other Stories
US Ambassador does not recognize borders mentioned by de-facto president of occupied Tskhinvali Region
"We do not recognize the borders mentioned by Mr. Bibilov, - the United States Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly said
EU Parliament says Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova could be considered for EU membership
Nine days prior to the start of Eastern Partnership Summit, the European Parliament called for deepening the European integration of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova
Ex-minister about the integration of Georgia’s ministries of Environment and Agriculture
It seems strange that the Ministry of Environment is being weakened shortly after the elections of local self-governments
Mattis, Georgia’s Defense Minister Discuss Security Issues at Pentagon
A meeting held between United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Georgian Defense Minister Levan Izoria aiming to discuss security issues and U.S.- Georgian security partnership
EU welcomes 16th consolidated report on Conflict in Georgia
The EU welcomes the Secretary-General’s 16th consolidated report on Conflict in Georgia.
Georgian government launches Abkhazian Language Protection and Development Program
The Georgian government has been working on establishment of the Abkhazian Language Protection and Development State Program,
Mike Goldwater on the Day Georgia “Lost” Abkhazia
September 27, the day Sokhumi fell to Abkhazian troops, remains one of the darkest leaves in Georgia’s modern history.
EU welcomes change of Entry/Exit System for stronger EU borders
The European Commission has issued the following statement after today’s adoption by the European Parliament
US Embassy congratulates Georgia on well-administered local elections
The Embassy of the United States congratulates the government and people of Georgia on yesterday’s well-administered local elections,
All polling stations data counted, Kakha Kaladze gains 51,13% of the votes
As reported by Georgia’s Central Election Commission,
Ex- Milan defender Kakha Kaladze becomes new Tbilisi Mayor
On October 21 Mayoral and city council elections were held in Georgia.
Alexandre Elisashvili congratulates Kakhi Kaladze on victory
Anyone should be able to recognize the election results.
Elections updated: Kakha Kaladze gets 51,06%, Aleksandre Elisashvili - 17,46%
According to the preliminary data of the Central Election Commission, Kakha Kaladze,
Edison Research exit polls final results say Kakha Kaladze gets 54% of votes
The final results of the exit polls, conducted by "Edison Research" have been published.
Edison Research Exit Poll Results - Georgian Dream received 58% of voters, National Movement - 16% in Tbilisi
According to the results of exit polls conducted by the Edison Research organization,
Kakha Kaladze gets 54% of votes, Zaal Udumashvili – 15% and Aleko Elisashvili – 14% - Edison Research exit polls say
According to the Edison Research exit polls, Georgian Dream Mayoral Candidate Kakha Kaladze has got 54% of the votes.
Local elections are underway in Georgia
Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Georgia’s Patriarch Ilia II have already made their choices
Who will become Tbilisi Mayor? - Georgia holds local elections
Georgia holds elections of city councils and mayors.
Russia-Georgia conflict and its peaceful resolution to be main part of Georgia-EU dialogue – PM
The Russia-Georgia conflict and ways of its peaceful resolution will be one of the significant parts of the Georgia-EU dialogue,
NATO Parliamentary Assembly condemns Russia’s attempts of intimidation of neighbors who try to deepen relations with NATO
NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly condemns Russia’s attempts to intimidate and destabilize the neighbors
The UN Secretary General fully supports Georgia
The meeting between Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres
US Ambassador - You can count on one hand how many countries recognize the independence of South Ossetia and none of them are in the EU or near Europe
You can count on one hand how many countries recognize the independence of South Ossetia and none of them are in the EU or near Europe,
Zurab Pololikashvili elected as UNWTO Secretary General
Ambassador Zurab Pololikashvili from Georgia has been elected as Secretary General
Ex-president Saakashvili faces criminal probe after illegal Ukraine entry
Mikheil Saakashvili faces criminal charges after entering Ukraine.
BBC: Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili 'forces entry' to Ukraine
Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s attempt to enter Ukraine
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
20.11.2017
21.11.2017
USD
1
USD
2.7268
2.6890
EUR
1
EUR
3.2176
3.1717
GBP
1
GBP
3.6097
3.5680
RUB
100
RUB
4.5750
4.5384
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Other Stories
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
The Georgian President and his wife are on a state visit to Israel. Giorgi Magvelashvili and the First Lady, together
Koba Subeliani, a member of the National Movement party and the parliamentary minority
According to Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, the Georgian side will take part in the UN peacekeeping mission.
Asked about whether Georgia and Russia are moving towards a repeat of the war in 2008
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.7268
EUR
1
EUR
3.2176
GBP
1
GBP
3.6097
RUB
100
RUB
4.5750
November 2017
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