“It is hard to think about values on an empty stomach”
30 April, 2015
“It is hard to think about values on an empty stomach”
2016 Parliamentary Elections Will Be Won by Those Who Will Offer the People Order and a Real Economic Program

Georgian Journal has invited Amiran Giguashvili, head of the Politics and Law Center, for a conversation on topics such as the confrontation between the president and the ex-prime minister, ongoing political and social processes and other noteworthy issues.

"Public confidence is a very unreliable currency. It has a tendency of vanishing in the blink of an eye."

– Mr. Giguashvili, the
legitimacy of President Margvelashvili staying at the so-called Presidential Palace has become one of the most relevant topics as of late. Bidzina Ivanishvili has declared that there exist rules in the country by which everyone, the president included, should abide. The president himself claims that this issue is merely a continuation of a personal feud between him and the ex-PM that started when he refused to bow to Ivanishvili’s will. How plausible do you think the president’s words are, considering that Ivanishvili only mentioned saving space and budget funds?


– When we end up dealing with aimless and disproportional spending of public funds at every step, when we see that handing out humongous bonuses to various public services continues still, and when the governmental tender transparency issue is especially severe, then it gets very hard to believe that it is all about President Margvelashvili using extra square meters for his working space. Who cares about this, anyway? Those who consider this to be among the country’s prime problems should leave their comfy offices and ask people in the street what their prime problems are. They will discover that an absolute majority of the population does not give a rat’s tail about where the president lives and works. People today are concerned about things such as growing credit interests, devaluation of the currency, increased prices and unemployment. As for abundant trust towards Mr. Ivanishvili, let us not forget that public confidence is a very unreliable currency. It has a tendency of vanishing in the blink of an eye, so I wouldn’t be so bold about it, if I were him. However, the ex-PM still has plenty of resources for controlling social processes and he does indeed establish the rules of the game in the country through his words and actions. Naturally, this is not healthy because these rules need to be established by the Constitution and not by somebody, even if this somebody is the country’s “most magisterial citizen.”

"The coming elections will be some of the most dreary, arduous and full of pessimistic attitudes."

– Informal governance is precisely what experts and NGOs are concerned about. The same is being said by the Free Democrats party, who were part of the governmental coalition just a few months ago. The ex-PM, however, simply accuses anyone who makes such statements of being in alliance with the National Movement. Does the notion of the NGO sector and Free Democrats throwing their lot with UNM seem plausible to you?

– In general, a person having more power than the law is a tragedy for a country. What we are dealing with here is the gradual establishment of personality cults of certain civilians or ecclesiastical persons, and politicians are the most active culprits in this. The end result is inevitably going to be societal degradation; As for the alleged alliance of the Free Democrats and NGOs with the United National Movement, this is nothing but a soap opera targeted at laymen. The truth, as always, is more prosaic: There exist interests, and if some of them coincide, a partnership may be formed. Following this principle, Georgian Dream and the National Movement may successfully cooperate as well. Especially when both the parliament and municipal power structures are full of “converted” Nationals. Also, let us not forget that the coming elections make it obvious that not a single party will manage to achieve victory single-handedly.

– Nobody denies political parties forming coalitions in the 2016 elections. What values do you think their unity will revolve around? Pro-Western, pro-Russian or a certain ideology?

– The coming elections will be some of the most dreary, arduous and full of pessimistic attitudes. Irakli Alasania’s recent statement about the necessity of values rather than individuals becoming the axis of unification is entirely correct. Whether our society is ready for this is a completely different cup of tea. Today, a large part of our population is on the verge of starvation in the most direct and harsh sense of these words. For this reason, the people will vote not for a pro-Western or a pro-Russian party or for liberal/conservative values, but for those who will offer them order and a real economic program. It is hard to think about values on an empty stomach. Such is the bitter reality we must bring ourselves to face.

Author: Zaal Abuladze
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