Georgia starts presidential election campaign 2018

Georgia starts presidential election campaign 2018

According to the Electoral Code, the election campaign on the presidential election has started in Georgia.

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili set the date of the presidential election - October 28.

Any citizen of Georgia who has the right to vote and who has attained the age of 35 years, has lived in Georgia for at least five years and has been living in Georgia for the last three years before the election is eligible to be elected president.

Parties registered with the CEC and initiative groups of five voters have the right to nominate one candidate for President of Georgia. In order to nominate a candidate for President of Georgia, a party, voters' initiative group shall submit an application to the CEC chairperson no later than the 50th day before the polling day. To date, 31 person submitted an application to the CEC. The registration is closed 30 days prior to the election. The candidate may withdraw from candidacy not later than 10 days before the polling day.

The Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia ruling party will not nominate its candidate for the upcoming race, the party’s Executive Secretary and Speaker of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze said.  Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, in turn, said that the party will decide on its support after all candidates are announced.

Former chairman of the Georgian Parliament, leader of Movement for Building David Usupashvili, leader of Georgian Labour Party Shalva Natelashvili, one of the leaders of the Girchi party Zurab Japaridze, one of the leaders of the Georgian March movement, Sandro Bregadze, the United National Movement member, ex-Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, former Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, one of the leaders of the Movement for Liberty - European Georgia party David Bakradze, leader of the Free Georgia party Kakha Kukava, as well as an independent MP, former Foreign Minister Salome Zourabichvili have already announced their participation in the election.

Political scientist Gela Vasadze, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that there is a unique pre-election situation in Georgia. "It is unique because the Georgian Dream ruling party has not nominated its candidate. It is predicted that the Georgian Dream will support the candidacy of Salome Zurabishvili. And the question is how this support will help the ex-Foreign Minister to win. The ruling party has almost unlimited financial, political and administrative resources, but due to the fact that Zurabishvili is linked to the Georgian Dream, the chances of her closest competitors, in particular Grigol Vashadze, will grow," he said.

"In general, all candidates have a chance, but very little, at least now, except for those who will be supported by the ruling party. Another thing is that the ruling party may decide not to provide any support at all - although I do not believe that the authorities can let the process of elections go by itself. They can unofficially support even David Bakradze from the European Georgia, and then he will win," Gela Vasadze added.

The political scientist drew attention to the fact that the main result of Giorgi Margvelashvili's presidential term was the understanding of the president's total uselessness, which goes against the policy of the government and parliament. "The paradox is that Margvelashvili, being the Georgian Dream's candidate, has been in opposition for at least three years. The Georgian president is kind of a superminister of foreign affairs representing the country at the international level, which seems to mean nothing, but, on the other hand, it is very important. The future president of Georgia will shape the attitude of other countries to our republic in many respects, therefore the Georgian Dream will not give the position to some random people," he stressed.

The head of the Institute of Management Strategy, Petre Mamradze, in turn, drew attention to the fact that there is no bright leader in this election. "Grigol Vashadze is Saakashvili's protege, David Bakradze represents the party that broke away from Saakashvili, his rating is low, while David Usupashvili's rating is not visible at all. The Georgian Dream promised to support Salome Zourabichvili, but has not yet done it," he said.

The Georgian Dream is not ready to release the presidential election out of control. "Ivanishvili ordered not to support anyone at all, so that the opposition would take the presidential institute, but his team members are against it. They want to have their own president. Apparently, there will be a so-called independent candidate, supported by the Georgian Dream. The problem, of course, is that today there is no charismatic figure in the country, which a priori enjoys the support of a large part of the population," the head of the Institute of Management Strategy pointed out.

The political scientist agreed that  for five years Margvelashvili discredited the presidential institute in the country. "Margvelashvili is completely unsuitable for public service, everything he has done and said was a caricature of the president. The society says that most of the energy he spent on releasing criminals and drug addicts from his wife's environment," Mamradze concluded.