Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of the opposition coalition Georgian Dream, named on July 9 majoritarian MP candidates in six out of seven single mandate constituencies of Kvemo Kartli, which is Georgia’s largest region by population after Imereti with over 511,000 people.
Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party, will run in Rustavi, a town close to Tbilisi with a population of over 122,000. Dzidziguri ran in Tbilisi mayoral race in 2010 elections garnering 8.3% of votes.
Mamuka Areshidze, a pundit and a frequent commentator on Caucasian affairs and conflict issues, will be Georgian Dream’s candidate in Gardabani single-mandate constituency. Ivanishvili’s old-time acquaintance Paata Khizanishvili was nominated in Dmanisi; Darejan Khvistani-Chkhetiani, a doctor, in Bolnisi; Mamuka Abuladze, a doctor, in Tetritskaro.
Aik Meltonyan was named as a majoritarian MP candidate in Tsalka single-mandate constituency. Meltonyan was a lawmaker in 2004-2008 when he was elected as a majoritarian MP from Tsalka constituency as a member of Industrialists Party, which is now in the Georgian Dream coalition.
Bidzina Ivanishvili named the candidates while opening Georgian Dream’s office in Tsalka.
Last week he said that Tsalka and Akhalkalaki, the constituencies predominantly populated by ethnic Armenians, were the areas where the Georgian Dream had most of the difficulties in terms of voters support.
Speaking at a meeting with a group of retired and active sportsmen on July 6, Ivanishvili claimed that support to the Georgian Dream in most of the regions was from 60 to 90%.
He said that these figures were based on data collecting as a result of the Georgian Dream’s “door-to-door” campaign, a process when the coalition’s activists visit households across the country as part of the efforts to recheck voters’ list.
Ivanishvili claimed that voters were sincere in revealing their political sympathies with activists from the Georgian Dream, but were afraid to do so with pollsters, “who try to represent themselves as being unbiased persons.”
“No one is afraid of us, if they [voters] do not support us they say it openly, but when others go to voters for [public opinion] surveys… frightened people hide that they are our supporters. But when [Georgian Dream activists] wearing our T-shirts go to [voters], they are not afraid and reveal openly [their political sympathies]. I think this is the most objective part of surveys,” Ivanishvili said.
“So based on these surveys – if we refer to it [door-to-door] as a survey – we are exceeding 90% [support] in many regions…. So the breakthrough has already been achieved and fear has disappeared,” he said, adding that in Samegrelo region Georgian Dream’s support was now over 60%.
Asked on July 9 whether he was expecting the same, 90% support of voters in the elections to which he made a reference during his July 6 remarks, Ivanishvili told journalists: “As far as ‘door-to-door’ and results are concerned, yes we do expect almost similar results.”
Ivanishvili then added that “the only factor that can hinder it” was intimidation of his supporters by the authorities.
“But everything will proceed according to our plan. We will receive votes in numbers that I told you and we will receive it definitely. They [the authorities] want to force people not to go to elections… But they will fail and everything will be as the Georgian people want it,” Ivanishvili said.