Upcoming Presidential Election- Dilemma for the Georgian Dream?
By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Thursday, August 23
On August 21, Georgian Dream held a meeting to discuss the forms of party's participation in upcoming presidential elections. The ruling party has not yet nominated their candidacy, but the members of the majority were actively discussing to support the independent candidate Salome Zourabichvili.
The Georgian Dream members openly stated that even though they have many candidates capable of winning the elections in the first round, the party says it will not nominate its candidate for 2018 presidential elections, because it would be better for democracy, besides, it could cause the wrong public opinion about the importance of the president's institution. Therefore, the party members discussed an option to support an independent candidate.
Even though the legislation can reduce the president's power when the population elects he/she, he/she acquires political weight, and consequently, a significant influence on the political processes. Therefore, the statements that the upcoming election has no vital importance for the ruling party can't be entirely accurate.
Besides this, the next election has additional significance. It can be considered as a mini rehearsal of the upcoming Parliamentary election 2020. If a candidate nominated or supported by the Georgian Dream will be defeated by the opposition candidate, it could be a severe damage to the rating of the party, because it will be the first case for the Georgian Dream to lose an election after coming into the power, accordingly upcoming presidential election could be a good indicator of public attitude changes towards the ruling team. Due to this, the leadership of the party has decided to discuss the party's position for the upcoming elections once again.
At first sight, Zourabichvili's candidacy seemed to be the most acceptable for the party, although she was associated with the Georgian Dream. Since in 2016 the party did not nominate a candidate in Mtatsminda election district and expressed its support to Zourabichvili, she is not formally connected to the Georgia Dream. Besides, she is a well-known and respected person for the Georgian society. However, something has changed, and the ruling party isnít sure anymore, that supporting the independent candidate would be the best option. Two weeks after nominating her candidacy, Zourabichvili held several meetings with the population. One of them was offensive to representatives of the press, where she told reporters to shake their brains. It could be the reason why Georgian Dream isnít sure that even in case of their support, Zourabichvili will win the elections, and that would be significant damage to the Georgian Dream's image.