Inga Grigolia to stand for City Hall
By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, March 11Famous Georgian journalist Inga Grigolia is about to enter politics. When she returns from London, where she has been studying for several months, Grigolia will participate in the local elections on May 30 as the head of the Christian-Democratic Movement list.
Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) held a press conference on March 10 at which he officially confirmed Grigolia’s candidacy for Chair of City Hall. “The CDM list in Tbilisi will be lead by our friend Inga Grigolia who has loyally defended the human rights and democratic values of our country over the years,” Targamadze said, stressing that Giorgi Chanturia, the former head of the state oil corporation, will be the party's Tbilisi Mayoral candidate. Chanturia's election headquarters had been established the previous day.
Chanturia, who is running under the campaign slogan 'Employment and Low Tariffs', also outlined the merits of Inga Grigolia. “Inga is a person who has made a great contribution not only in the formation of the free media and freedom of speech but also defending the rights of ordinary citizens. I think the fact that she cares for people is a wonderful gift,” Chanturia told the media.
“This won’t be a game but intensive work. Being first on the party list is a serious responsibility, especially for someone going into politics for the first time,” Inga Grigolia said in a telephone conversation with Rustavi 2 on March 9. “The upcoming local elections will define the future political life of our country. The competition between the opposition parties is not as important as our main goal, which is to defeat the Government candidate in the elections. The Government hasn’t yet named its number one candidate, but I am absolutely sure it will choose some weighty person and the elections will be a bit difficult,” Grigolia added.
The first comments on Inga Grigolia’s declared candidacy have already been made. Zurab Tkemaladze, the one of the leaders of Industry Will Save Georgia, praised Grigolia as a smart and clever woman but advised her to start her political career as a Parliament Deputy, explaining that City Hall was not a political body and it would be wrong to try and enter so-called serious politics from there.
“Inga is a wonderful journalist and we have friendly relations. I want to wish her all the best in her new career but I find it difficult to imagine her as my political rival. It’s up to the public to decide whether Inga will be the Chair of City Hall or not,” Zviad Dzidziguri, the leader of the Conservative Party, said, adding that they would name their candidates for the elections on April 9.
Mikheil Machavariani, the first Deputy Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, welcomed all the new faces on the political stage for the upcoming elections but stressed that the main challenges for the governing party are the most burning issues for the Georgian people, such as the rate of unemployment, social issues, etc which he said they have to deal with.
The Messenger asked Manana Nachkebia, a member of New Rights, part of the Alliance for Georgia, to compare the chances of Inga Grigolia and Sozar Subari, the Alliance candidate for City Hall Chair. “I would like to express my respect for Inga Grigolia as a wonderful journalist who has played an important role in the process of democratisation and promoting the freedom of the media in our country. Inga as a journalist has been very much oppressed by the Government bodies, however the positions of the Christian-Democratic Movement are very much like the Government's and thus I am afraid Inga might end up serving the Government's interests,” Nachkebia told us. “We fight for our country, and our aim is to ensure freedom of choice for such great journalists as Inga so that they don’t have to enter politics themselves,” She added.
Asked by The Messenger to give her opinion on Grigolia’s decision from a journalist's viewpoint Nino Jangirashvili, Director of independent TV Company Kavkasia, said this is Inga’s personal decision which she doesn’t find it important to comment on. Shorena Shaverdashvili, Editor-in-Chief of Liberal magazine, also hesitated to give an opinion on the recent trend of journalists entering politics.