Decision of the Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition members to run separately in the October 2016 parliamentary elections and not under the joint ticket makes political landscape much more diverse which is good for voters, President Giorgi Margvelashvili said.
“The [GD] coalition was established for the opposition to change the previous government peacefully [in 2012 parliamentary elections]. The coalition dealt with this task very well. But the political system wherein there are only two forces – black and white, is already obsolete for the Georgian politics and we should offer the voters much more diverse political choice. In the view of having number of serious players in these elections, voters will have better possibility to elect their future representatives in the Parliament,” he told a group of Georgian journalists in Washington on March 31, where the President is participating in the Nuclear Security Summit.
In separate remarks also on March 31, President Margvelashvili said while speaking to the audience at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs that building of strong, functional political parties is an “important part” of developing European political system in Georgia. He said that the Georgian political system should leave behind its tradition of offering to voters narrow, “black and white” choice of “government versus opposition” wherein both of them are “demonizing” each other; he said parties’ campaigning ahead of elections should be “issue-based”, which will allow voters “to vote for” someone instead of “voting against” someone.
In this respect, he said, Georgia still has “a long way to go.”
“I hope that the upcoming elections… will be a step forward in this respect,” President Margvelashvili said.
Responding to a question specifically on the GD members’ decision to run separately in the elections, Margvelashvili said that it’s an “interesting development” and added that now voters have “much more colorful palette to choose from – and not just white and black.”
The President reiterated that he will remain “nonpartisan” in the electoral process and added that he will try “to convince” voters to go to polling stations in order to help increase voter turnout.