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Ivanishvili may not be active for local elections

By Messenger Staff
Monday, June 26
The founder of the Georgian Dream coalition, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, may not be involved in campaigning for the upcoming local elections scheduled for the autumn.

Some analysts believe that Ivanishvili’s lack of participation in the Georgian Dream party’s pre-election campaign will weaken the party, while others state that the reason for this may be not to irritate voters, especially in Tbilisi.

Ivanishvili, who never appeared before public until 2012 and was only known for his philanthropic activities, has always stood by the Georgian Dream candidates and was actively campaigning for the party founded by him.

"I have come into politics to save my country," Ivanishvili told the BBC after the 2012 race, during an interview in Tbilisi, as he gave an impromptu tour of his $1.3bn (£800m) art collection.

The BBC wrote then that Ivanishvili owns works by Roy Lichtenstein, Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst - one of whose pieces he commissioned specially for a particular wall.

In 2006, he bought Picasso's Dora Maar with Cat for almost $100m - at the time the highest amount paid by anyone at an auction.

For the 153rd richest person on the planet, being in active politics could be a bargain.

He initially stated that he aimed to defeat Mikheil Saakashvili’s “regime” through the 2012 parliamentary elections. Ivanishvili then quit the Prime Minister’s post in 2013 and since then it has been a permanent topic for the opposition and NGOs that Ivanishvili rules the country from the backstage.

If the Georgian people who link the Georgian Dream party with Ivanishvili will decide that he has truly distanced himself from politics, it really may have an influence on election outcome.

Perhaps Ivanishvili wishes to distance himself from his team, who have failed to justify people’s expectations.

However, it could also be that he is so confident of the victory of his team without his involvement that he believes his presence is no longer needed in politics.