PM Ivanishvili said he’s sure that there will be no second round in October 27 presidential election, but if it happens he would advise Georgian Dream’s presidential candidate, Giorgi Margvelashvili, to withdraw from the race and not to participate in the runoff.
He even said that he would be disappointed if Margvelashvili receives less than 60% of votes; Ivanishvili said it would cool his enthusiasm towards his post-preterm resignation plans.
“I am absolutely sure that the second round is actually impossible,” Ivanishvili said during a press conference with editors from print media and radio stations on October 17. “If there is a second round, personally I would advise Margvelashvili not to run.”
Ivanishvili, who says that upcoming election will be “a referendum” for and “assessment” of current government, suggested that garnering less than half of the votes will show that the public has “doubts” over GD’s policies and in that case he would prefer Margvelashvili to withdraw from the race.
“If the society casts doubt over [government’s policies] and thinks that we failed to do deeds properly… then I can set myself free from responsibility. For two years I have been working day and night, not even allowing myself to get ill. But if the society assesses these [efforts] otherwise, then of course I will set myself free from this burden and of course I will not impose my service on to anyone,” Ivanishvili said.
“So if people cast doubt over what I am doing sincerely – and I have responsibility and capability to do it, then I would not have run in the second round at all,” he said.
He also stressed that he will only “advise” and not “dictate” to Margvelashvili how to act.
“It’s up to Giorgi [Margvelashvili] to decide. No one should think that someone can impose something on him,” Ivanishvili said.
He said that “there is a small part within the society who are missing Misha”, referring to outgoing President Saakashvili; citing GD’s internal polls, he also said that UNM presidential candidate Davit Bakradze is in a slight lead over Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia.
“So if there is a second round, Bakradze will come and nominate Saakashvili for prime minister… and you will have dancing and singing on those same old tunes,” Ivanishvili said.
Burjanadze said at a news conference on October 15 that she’s convinced of winning election, “at least in the runoff.”
Ivanishvili stressed he’s “absolutely convinced” of Margvelashvili’s victory in the first round.
“Moreover, it will be insulting for me if Giorgi [Margvelashvili] receives less than 60% of votes and in that case enthusiasm that I now have to direct all of my efforts and capabilities in the service to my country for next twenty years [after the intended pre-term resignation following the presidential election], will slightly decline,” Ivanishvili said. “Of course I will pursue my [post-preterm resignation] plans, but I will have less enthusiasm in that case.”
He said Margvelashvili’s victory with over 60% of votes is “realistic.”
Ivanishvili, however, also added that in order that to happen there should be a high voter turnout. He told supporters “not to be lazy” and to go to polling stations on October 27, otherwise, he warned, convincing victory in the election will be impossible.
“I call on our supporters to turn out at polling stations,” he said. “If our supporters are lazy, we will get 51-52 percent or so and I will be disappointed about it.”
He disagreed that his remarks about expecting over 60% of votes for Margvelashvili would be perceived by some officials as a signal to rig election in case they see that GD’s presidential candidate is failing to meet that target.
During the lengthy televised press conference, Ivanishvili also mentioned some other presidential candidates; on Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili, the PM said: “Natelashvili is deceiving voters for two decades already” and on leader of Christian-Democratic Movement, Giorgi Targamadze, the PM said: “This man has always had a position which is against the country; for me he’s like an etalon of treachery.”
Asked about Nino Burjanadze, Ivanishvili responded: “If you noticed I am not trying to criticize National Movement’s presidential candidate [Davit] Bakradze and I do not want to criticize Burjanadze either. I am trying to refrain from critical remarks ahead of the elections.”