Georgian Dream to launch party on April 21
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, April 20The political movement Georgian Dream will establish itself as an official party on April 21, to be called Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia.
“All needed bodies will be elected. All procedures will be carried out together with a notary. The leader of the party and coalition is Bidzina Ivanishvili, who will be the candidate for the Prime Minister’s post,” spokesperson of the coalition, Maia Panjikidze, announced, noting that the meeting will take place at 3:00pm at Expo Georgia.
Free Democrats MP and coalition member Gia Tsagareishvili hinted at some “surprises" planned for the day, saying that the news will not be joyful for the current government of Georgia. "Very interesting, new faces will be represented on the day,” Tsagareishvili said, noting that the party will have two members on the elections commission, one from the Conservative Party and the other from the Industry Will Save Georgia party. He called this "an unpleasant surprise for the government".
The MP also remarked that the recent changes made to the Constitution – or currently under consideration – will be utilized by Ivanishvili, including the proposal that EU citizens resident in Georgia for 10 years may participate in elections. "The decision was made by the government, as [President Mikheil] Saakashvili had to concede regarding the issue voiced by the parliamentary Christian-Democratic Movement. This step was made through pressure on the government from the opposition and international community, thus we will use all legal means and act based on constitutional norms,” he said.
The opposition is also taking credit for the government's decision to compromise and even back down from certain sections of the controversial Law on Political Unions of Citizens. However as member of the coalition Choice for Freedom Irakli Melashvili says, there are still many violations of election now, during the campaign. While the administration has invited international monitors to observe as much as six months in advance of the election, he notes that their invitations did not include the words “long-term recommendations". He also complained that observers can only note problems; they do not have the authority to fix them, or to guarantee free elections. "For the eradication of violations, our coalition will start monitoring in eight regions of Georgia from May,” Melashvili stated.
Representative of the United National Movement, Nugzar Tsiklauri, responded to Georgian Dream's announcements, saying that statements from the coalition indicate a lack of strategy in the new party, either in the domestic or foreign policy sphere.