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Prime Minister makes pre-election appeal

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, July 11
Prime Minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, made an election appeal to his team, the minority parliamentarians, the foreign community and the media. Ivanishvili stressed that the upcoming elections are a chance for those members of the United National Movement who did not participate in illegalities. The PM stressed that the presidential elections should be the start of a new election culture in the country.

“Our political team aspires and strives to win this election. However, we do have another, even more important aspiration and ambition, to hold an exemplary clean, free and fair election, as befits a country committed to Europe. It will be our shared victory and an act of introduction of democratic political order in the country,” Ivanishvili stated.

The PM highlighted that the “shameful practices” elaborated by the former ruling administration, making pressure on the political opponents will no longer be encouraged inside the country. The PM addressed various parties united within the coalition to prove during the presidential election campaign that retaliation is not their guiding principle.

“Our principles are freedom, the rule of law, and respect for our opponents. Otherwise, if we treat representatives of the previous government as they treated us, we will never break through the magic circle, which we have failed to overcome and which has assailed our country for decades,” Ivanishvili suggested.

Regarding the members of the UNM, the Prime Minister thinks that they should “use the upcoming presidential election as a chance to distance themselves from unlawfulness and ensure a decent political future.”

Ivanishvili’s appeal hinted that the elections would be a test for the media as well. The PM appealed to media outlets to be free in their actions as the process will reveal which television stations, newspapers, or magazines are able to benefit from the freedom of the media from governmental pressure, and who opts to remain a propaganda tool.

Ivanishvili addressed the diplomatic corps and foreign organizations and asked them to do their best to engage as many qualified observers as possible in the election monitoring process as soon as possible and to provide the government with their timely comments and recommendations.

The parliamentary majority shared the PM’s attitude. “A new government should show the international community that it can hold absolutely free and transparent elections,”Manana Kobakhidze, vice speaker, stated.

The UNM is also preparing for the elections. However, it seems there are controversies on the party renewal. UNM MP, Akaki Bobokhidze, stated that Mikheil Saakashvili should leave the position of the UNM party chair and Vano Merabishvili should quit the post of the UNM general secretary. “I think that the changing of the party leadership should be carried out based on those responsibilities and mistakes that were made during the UNM leadership,” he said.

Fellow MP, Goka Gabashvili, denied talking on replacing of the party leaders, adding that the renewing process is already ongoing without changing the leaders. The UNM does not believe in the PM’s appeal, stating that the UNM members are already being oppressed

Head of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze, states that the first step she will take after winning the presidential elections will be the detention of President Saakashvili and the dismissal of the head of Supreme Court, Kote Kublashvili, due to their illegal actions.

Head of Elections and Political Technologies Research Center, Kakha Kakhishvili, stated that it is welcoming when the PM stands above political ambitions and addresses all political forces or state institutions to ensure equal conditions for all political players.