PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said he was not expecting President Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) to be his six-party Georgian Dream coalition’s “serious opponent” in next year’s presidential election or in local elections a year later and called for increasing “internal competition” within the coalition itself.
Georgian Dream coalition, which makes up the parliamentary majority group, consists of six parties: Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia; Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD); Republican Party; Conservative Party; National Forum and Industrialists.
“There is a threat that we won’t a have a serious competitor outside of the coalition,” PM Ivanishvili said on December 9.
The Prime Minister made the remarks while speaking at a congress of OGFD party, which elected Irakli Kadagishvili as its new chairman after the party founder Irakli Alasania resigned from the chairmanship following his appointment as Defense Minister. Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili of the Republican Party was also present at the congress.
“Yes Alasania and Usupashvili are sitting friendly next to each other, but I know that they also feel competition between each other and that’s normal,” Ivanishvili said.
“For the nearest future, I think for at least four years before the next parliamentary elections we have to work in a coalition mode,” Ivanishvili said. “Now we have opponents – the previous authorities; but they fail to be constructive opponents and to say it frankly I do not hope that they will be [constructive opponents] in the future either. They keep on living based on their old ideology, based on violence and lies – something that has been rejected by the Georgian population. Despite of my multiple calls… [towards UNM] to reject violence and lies and to cooperate in rebuilding of the country and to be constructive opponents, they fail to do it.”
“If such a situation continues – and as it seems it will, in the next election – the presidential election in October 2013, and then in local elections in the spring 2014, I think we [the Georgian Dream coalition] won’t have a serious opponent in neither of these [elections]. So there will be a need for increasing internal competition within the coalition itself. I think the coalition should remain for next few years with having a joint strategy of the coalition, but at the same time internal competition should further deepen,” Ivanishvili said.
A day earlier, the Prime Minister met with lawmakers from the Georgian Dream coalition and, as he said, discussed with them the need for more coordination and “stricter discipline”.
Also at the OGFD congress on Sunday, PM Ivanishvili said that the Georgian Dream should analyze thoroughly what went wrong for the coalition in Samegrelo during the October 1 parliamentary elections, where GD lost to UNM in both majoritarian and party-list race in all the constituencies of this western Georgian region.
In Zugdidi single-mandate constituency, Irakli Alasania was running for a majoritarian MP seat, but lost the race to UNM’s Roland Akhalaia, a former chief prosecutor of the Samegrelo region, who is father of former defense and interior minister Bacho Akhalaia; the latter is now in pretrial detention facing several criminal charges.
PM Ivanishvili said that he was preparing a lot for elections in the Samegrelo region, but “we failed to calculate something properly, we’ve been deceived in something and at the same time we failed to record properly [electoral] violations and it is regrettable.”
“We should analyze it for the future. To gain victory in Samegrelo was very important for me and I dedicated most of my energy to this and the most prominent leader was sent there [referring to Alasania],” he said and added that despite of it election result in Samegrelo region was not what he wanted it to be.