PM Ivanishvili said that he expects Georgian Dream’s presidential candidate, Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili, to win election, scheduled for October 31, outright in the first round, avoiding a run-off vote.
He made the remarks at a news conference on July 3 when asked about potential presidential bid from a renowned opera singer Paata Burchuladze.
Burchuladze, 58, who in recent years has been actively involved in charity activities for children through his Iavnana foundation, fueled speculation about his potential presidential bid after he said in an interview with weekly newspaper, Kviris Palitra, in late June that he was offered to run in the October, 2013 election by some politicians, including by a leader of small political party, Kartuli Dasi (Georgian Troupe), former lawmaker Jondi Bagaturia; Burchuladze said that he was yet undecided.
“Everything is possible,” said Burchuladze, who will mark his 35-year anniversary of his operatic career with a concert in Tbilisi on July 9. “I always stayed away from politics… But I have not yet finally decided, because I have not yet thought enough about it… Giorgi Margvelashvili is also an excellent candidate, I know him, I love and respect him very much.”
Asked at a news conference on July 3 if he thought that Burchuladze’s presidential bid, if the latter decides to run, would take votes from GD’s candidate, PM Ivanishvili responded: “Everything is possible and every candidate can take votes from our candidate.”
“But it does not mean that we should react on that. It is up to individual persons to decide whether to get involved in the political processes or not. If batoni Paata decides so, it will be very good. I think that Margvelashvili, as a politician as well as in his individual capacity, is much more acceptable as a presidential candidate… He has all those qualities in excess, which are required for a president of any country, not just of Georgia,” Ivanishvili said.
He said that he was sure neither Burchuladze, if the latter decides to run, nor any other candidate would be able to challenge Margvelashvili’s bid for presidency.
“I think that the society will elect him [Giorgi Margvelashvili] in the first round,” Ivanishvili said and reiterated that change of GD’s current candidate and naming someone else was ruled out.
“I can’t imagine a candidate, who will be able to compete with Margvelashvili; there is no reason for rejecting Margvelashvili’s candidacy,” Ivanishvili added.
President Saakashvili’s UNM party is now in the process of selecting its presidential candidate through internal party elections, which will be held in six stages involving conferences and debates between primary candidates; after the first conference former parliament speaker Davit Bakradze is leading in the primaries.
Others who have so far confirmed their intention to run in the October presidential election are: Nino Burjanadze, leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, who was parliament speaker in 2001-2008; leader of Labor Party Shalva Natelashvili and former Labor Party member Nestan Kirtadze. Leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), Giorgi Targamadze, said his party would decide about its candidacy within this month.
According to the constitution presidential elections should be held in October, 2013.
It’s up to the incumbent President to set an exact date.
On July 1 President’s office initially announced October 27 (Sunday) as the presidential election date, but few hours later changed it into October 31 (Thursday), citing “a technical mistake.”
At the news conference on July 3 PM Ivanishvili criticized President Saakashvili for the way how the election date was announced and the date itself.
The way how the date was set and changed, Ivanishvili said, demonstrated once again “impulsiveness” of Saakashvili. He also said that it was an “insult” to the country and neglect of Georgian expatriates as holding of election in mid-week would prevent many of them from casting ballot because of working day.
„I was alarmed with the fact that he [Saakashvili] chose the last day [of October], Thursday. Nothing matters to him except of staying [on the presidential post] for three more days,“ Ivanishvili said.