Parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said PM Ivanishvili’s successor, who will be selected through ongoing consultations, will not be a “super shocking surprise” for the public.
Speaking on Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 TV’s political talk-show on September 27, Usupashvili also said he’s not being considered as a possible candidate for prime ministerial post.
He also spoke about PM Ivanishvili’s decision to quit after the October 27 presidential election and said he personally might “not be glad” about Ivanishvili’s intention to quit the politics.
“I will feel being without a serious political partner in my everyday political life,” he said.
Usupashvili, however, said Ivanishvili’s departure from politics will contribute to institutional building of country’s political system, reducing overreliance on a single leader and increasing political accountability of government members and politicians in the ruling coalition.
“His decision to quit the politics stems – and I fully agree with him in this issue – from the view that if he stays for an excessively long time in the politics, we [the Georgian Dream coalition] will share the fate of all the previous ruling teams in this country, when people [in the ruling elites] were taking shelter behind the back of a single individual, relying on a single person, hoping that this single person would have to bear entire burden of blame if something went wrong,” Usupashvili said.
“So with this step, Ivanishvili is [contributing] to distribution of both power and responsibility,” he said, adding that it will add much more work to the coalition and the cabinet members.
He also said that Ivanishvili’s departure will change the Georgian Dream and make it different both “with form and substance” and turn it into “a genuine coalition” government.
Usupashvili said that currently everyone within the coalition knows that if no agreement is reached between the coalition partners on a certain issue, this disputed issue will be referred to PM Ivanishvili, who has the final say, making everything dependent on this single individual.
Absence of such a figure, Usupashvili continued, will make the coalition to set institutionalized decision-making process, including deciding on disputed issues through voting and other mechanisms.
“Of course this is more difficult and it is happening for the first time in Georgia, but what was happening previously – governing systems depending on a single person have all ended up in complete failure,” Usupashvili said.
Asked if he thinks that the Georgian political spectrum is ready for such a model, Usupashvili responded that politicians have to assume responsibility. “One can’t learn to swim only through a theory without practicing in water,” he said.
He downplayed opponents’ concerns about Ivanishvili becoming a behind-the-scenes leader and a de-facto decision-maker without any formal political role and responsibility, after he quits.
“He does not need it… and he just can’t do that… He is not going to treat us like this and we are not going to treat him like a [behind-the-scenes decision maker] either,” Usupashvili said.
PM Ivanishvili said on September 25 that he has “actually already chosen” a person whom he will name as his successor; he also said that he was observing “three men” from which he has picked one, whom he did not specify. Georgian Dream’s presidential candidate, Giorgi Margvelashvili, and Defense Minister Irakli Alasania have said recently that they were involved in consultations on selecting a prime ministerial candidate; all are tight-lipped on the process, saying that it would be untimely now to speak about it as it would divert attention from upcoming presidential elections.