Georgia: Ivanishvili Warns Supporters Over Majoritarian Contest
(Civil.Ge) — Leader of opposition Georgian Dream coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is campaigning in Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region on August 26-27, called on supporters not to differentiate between supporting Georgian Dream in party-list and majoritarian contests when casting ballot in the October 1 parliamentary elections.
“You have to realize it very well that a majoritarian MP candidate supporting [ruling party United] National Movement can’t be your friend; such a candidate can only be a friend to the National Movement… You can not perceive such a candidate separately [without UNM],” he told supporters at a campaign meeting in Lentekhi on August 26.
“We’ve been hearing from many regions: ‘We’ll vote for the Georgian Dream [in party-list contest], but there is a very good majoritarian [MP candidate from other party], like Gegenava or someone else’; don’t trust such [approach]; if Gegenava supports the current government he too is responsible for the authorities’ each and every step,” Ivanishvili said, apparently referring to an incumbent ruling party lawmaker Archil Gegenava, who is running in the October 1 parliamentary elections to retain his majoritarian MP seat in Tbilisi’s Mtatsminda single-mandate constituency.
Georgia has a mixed system in which 73 lawmakers out of 150 will be elected in 73 single-mandate constituencies and rest 77 seats will be allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among political parties and election blocs, which will clear 5% threshold.
In 2008 parliamentary elections the ruling party received 59.18% of votes in the party-list contest; UNM, however, gained total of 79.3% of seats in the 150-member Parliament after its majoritarian MP candidates won in 71 out of 75 single-mandate constituencies (at the time there were 75 single-mandate constituencies).
Also on August 26, during campaigning in the Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti region Ivanishvili was in the town of Tsageri where he came face-to-face with Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, who is the number one in ruling party’s list of MP candidates in the upcoming elections. Ivanishvili and Bakradze shook hands when they encountered each other in a local Orthodox church.
“I shook hands with Bakradze; I am so glad about it that I won’t even wash my hand today,” Ivanishvili said later, smiling.
On August 21 Ivanishvili said of Bakradze, whose post under the current constitution is the second highest ranking after the President, that his position of parliamentary speaker was only a “formality” and in fact he wielded no power at all.