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By -Elections as test for Georgian Dream coalition

By Messenger Staff
Friday, September 4
Georgia is facing by–elections in two constituencies of the Martvili and Sagarejo regions shortly as the Martvili MP died and Sagarejo majoritarian deputy Tinatin Khidasheli was appointed as the Defence Minister.

Despite the fact that most of the parliamentary and non-parliamentary parties boycotted the elections, the occasion might become a test for the Georgian Dream coalition.

Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC) has already set a date for MP elections in the two single mandate constituencies for October 31.

From the Georgian Dream (GD), Georgia’s ruling party, Soso Danelia, who has worked for the Georgian embassy in Italy, will run in Martvili; in Sagarejo, Tamar Khidasheli, who chaired Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association in 2008-2010, will be a GD candidate.

Irma Inashvili, one of the leaders of Patriots' Alliance of Georgia, will be competing in Sagarejo to seek an MP majoritarian seat in the Parliament.

By the Jamestown Research Institute the Alliance of Patriots is described as a marginal force.

The Institute article reads that the party was founded, in 2013, by Irma Inashvili, a journalist for the popular Obieqtivi TV program. Inashvili played a key role in obtaining the 2012 Gldani prison abuse video tapes, which eventually facilitated the defeat of President Mikheil Saakashvili’s ruling UNM in that year’s parliamentary election.

The Institute reads that the party enjoys “shadowy” foreign and domestic priorities as it opposes signing a trade agreement with the Russian advocated Eurasian Union and at the same time states that Georgia’s striving to the NATO and EU are fruitless.

The local media agency Kakheti Information Centre has conducted video research with Saarejo residents a couple of days ago, where majority of interviewees stated that they supported Inashvili in the elections.

They claimed that Khidasheli and the Georgian Dream did nothing for their welfare and did not intend to vote for another Khidasheli, without knowing the latter’s experience and election programme.

They did not know Inashvili’s programme as well but were ready to vote for her as according to them, Inashvili was well-known and did many good things, without naming any concrete examples which warranted such merit.

The research points to the fact that the political culture of the majority of Georgians remains the same, and they still vote for “well-known” people rather than their election programmes.

If Inashvili really succeeds in the elections, it will be a very negative signal for the Georgian Dream coalition in the context of the upcoming 2016 parliamentary race.

Currently, almost all the governmental opponents boycotted the elections as the government postponed rejecting the majoritarian elections and major election reform for 2020, however, the GD will definitely have more rivals for 2016 than now.