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.

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.

“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.

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.

“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.

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

Other Stories
Eka Beselia: “You will not be able to stop me, to make me stay silent, to disappear me!!!
MP Eka Beselia has posted an open letter on her Facebook page, following reports of sex tape leak.
CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX 2018: Georgia got 58 out of 100
According to the CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX 2018, Georgia scored 58 and was consequently ranked as 41 among 180 countries.
83% of Georgians support integration into the NATO, 78% into the EU – NDI
83% of NDI respondents support Georgia's integration into the EU, - the poll results of the National Democratic Institute say.
January 25 – birthday of the second president of Georgia
The 25th of January marks the 91st birthday of the second president of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze.
Jack Shepherd from the UK detained in Georgia
A British man who went on the run last year after killing a woman in a speedboat crash on the River Thames has been detained in the former Soviet state of Georgia - says Reuters.
Georgia recognizes Juan Guaido as an interim president
Georgia recognized Venezuelan parliament speaker Juan Guaidó as an interim president.
Georgian PM aims to turn Georgian into a center of the region
Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze is in Davos to participate in World Economic Forum. He gave interviews to two media outlets – CNBC TV and Deutsche Welle.
Judges that served the violent regime of Saakashvili should not be in the Supreme Court, says Eka Beselia
Eka Beselia, a member of the parliamentary majority, held a press conference in the Parliament today.
Possible confrontation within the Georgian Dream Party?
Eka Beselia, a member of the ruling party, will hold a news conference in the Parliament at 12:00 today.
13 dead from swine flu in Georgia, emergency treatment to be free for all
13 people died from swine flu in Georgia so far, but there is no risk of epidemy, says Georgian Minister of Health.
Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili not ready for launching diplomatic dialogue with Russia
I'm not ready to give any advice to the legislative body about the launch of the diplomatic relations or dialogue with Russia
Georgia suffering the steepest drop in democratic quality in eastern Europe
According to the statistics for the Democracy Index 2018, published by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU),
“Let’s see if you can wrestle with women”- Interior minister to the opposition
Female Police officers were mobilized in front of the Gurjaani District Court where the case of Davit Kirkitadze, the member of the United Opposition was considered.
Georgian citizens can apply for temporary residency in France
150 permits for young specialists as well as additional 500 permits will be granted each year to go to work to France.
Numbers of Georgians seeking asylum in Germany has significantly decreased
According to Ambassador of Georgia to Germany Elguja Khokrishvili, the drop of asylum requests has been due to recently taken steps.
U.S. Congress supports Georgia with a new bill
Unanimously the U.S. approved the act, which calls for imposing sanctions on Russian actors for the commission of serious human rights abuses in the occupied Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
‘Horn wrestling’ between opposition party leader and police chef
Yesterday on the 16th of December, clashes occurred between Nika Melia, leader of the United National Movement and Teimuraz Kupatadze, head of patrol police department in the village of Velistsikhe, Kakheti region (eastern part of Georgia).
Salome Zourabichvili officially becomes the fifth president of Georgia
The inauguration ceremony of president-elect Salome Zourabichvili took place in Telavi, Kakheti (eastern region of Georgia) on the 16th of December.
Fight erupt in paliament between Georgian MPs during session
Verbal and physical confrontation has occurred between MPs in the parliament.
Famous Georgians invited at the Inauguration of Salome Zourabichvili
The inauguration ceremony of president elect Salome Zourabishvili will be held in Telavi, Kakheti (eastern region of Georgia) on the 16th of December.
Exclusive interview with Lincoln Mitchell, American political analyst and Georgia expert
More than 20,000 people responded to the appeal of the opposition and gathered in front of the former parliament building in downtown Tbilisi last Sunday.
The after-pains of the presidential election in Georgia
Yesterday evening, at a meeting with his supporters in the Philharmonic Hall, the defeated candidate Grigol Vashadze made it clear that he didn’t recognize the result of the presidential elections and called for early parliamentary elections.
National democratic institute publishes their findings about the presidential elections in Georgia
A delegation of the National Democratic Institute, which included observers from five countries, analyzed the election process.
International media about the runoff presidential elections in Georgia
Although it didn’t hit the headlines, newspapers and broadcast around the world report about Salome Zurabishvili as the first woman who became president in Georgia.
100% of the ballot counted: Salome Zourabichvili wins
Yesterday on the 28th of November, the second round of the presidential election took place in Georgia.
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
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.
GEL Exchange
February 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