"The primary appeal of Khazaradze is not the man himself, but what he represents."- FP
06 February, 2020
"The primary appeal of Khazaradze is not the man himself, but what he represents."- FP
The global magazine for news and ideas FP publishes an article talking about Georgia's upcoming parliamentary elections, which have to be held by October. The article mentions the two recent nationwide polls conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

"When asked “Which political party is closest to you?” a full 34 percent responded “no party” or “refuse to answer”—nearly double the total 19 percent who chose Georgian Dream. (UNM only notched 13 percent.)"

The author
of the article claims that with existing options so reviled by such a large portion of the population, there should be a third force to "make a splash." The author also writes that Georgia's version of Volodymyr Zelensky and Donald Trump might follow a similar playbook to upend Georgian political life.

In the report, Mamuka Khazaradze is mentioned as the person most likely to find themselves in the position of spoiler describing him as the recent outcast member of the elite. The co-founder and former head of TBC, Georgia’s largest bank, Khazaradze found himself at the center of a storm in February 2019 after he resigned from his position as TBC chairman in the midst of an investigation many thought to be politically motivated. On July 24, 2019, prosecutors formally charged Khazaradze (and his co-founder) in relation to an investigation into a 2008 money laundering case involving him and his associates—just two weeks after he announced his intention to found a new political movement, Lelo, independent of Georgia’s leading political forces. Lelo’s platform is not yet fully developed, but the party’s leaders have repeatedly stated that its main purpose is to “defeat the bipolar system” of the Georgian Dream and UNM.

Considering all mentioned above, the author of the article still says that Lelo and Khazaradze may have the best outside chance of challenging Georgia's two main political parties, but it probably won't be enough.

More importantly, Georgia's attitude towards new politicians is described by Olesya Vartanyan, a South Caucasus analyst for the International Crisis Group.

"When there are rumors that someone new will enter [politics], people start to project all their hopes onto them. They build up a mythology, regardless of what this person actually is.”

Therefore the primary appeal of Khazaradze is not the man himself, but what he represents. More accurately it is what people want him to represent.

"Khazaradze’s initial poll numbers reinforce this analysis: In the same November IRI poll, only 29 percent of respondents said they had a favorable view of the man, compared with 45 percent who held an unfavorable view."- the global magazine for news and ideas FP says. 

Photo from: intellinews

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