Informal ruler of Georgia Ivanishvili 'leaves politics' –again
Chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party and the country’s informal ruler Bidzina Ivanishvili says he is leaving politics – again:
“I made the decision to leave politics for good and leave the reins of government. I will return to my private lifestyle, which I led until 2011,” wrote Bidzina Ivanishvili in an open letter to the public, published on January 11.
The main reason for leaving politics, he said, is that ‘almost all of his stated goals have been achieved.’
This is not the first ‘departure from politics’ of the oligarch and the informal ruler of the country; in 2013, Ivanishvili left the post of prime minister and party chairman. However, he again took up the reins of the the ruling party in 2018, ahead of the last presidential elections.
Ivanishvili’s letter was over 4,300 words long. JAMnews breaks down the most important components of his farewell:
Specific reasons for leaving politics
Ivanishvili says the main reason he is leaving is that he has already fulfilled his main mission and his main promises to the people. He also says that he has created a solid team:
“I am confident that this team will be able to adequately replace my hard work, authority and skills, so I believe that my mission has been accomplished,” he wrote.
Ivanishvili cites his age as one of the reasons for leaving – he will turn sixty-five years old in a few weeks.
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Ivanishvili writes that when he entered politics in 2011, he had two main goals and objectives, and they were successfully accomplished:
First, put an end to the “inhuman regime of Saakashvili”.
And the second – “to save the Euro-Atlantic course from being erased.” According to Ivanishvili, Saakashvili, unpopular among the population, identified himself with the West, which “automatically led to sharp aggression against the country’s western orientation.”
“This created the danger of Georgia entering the opposite orbit,” the letter says.
At the same time, according to Ivanishvili, it became more and more difficult for the West to “support the dictatorship behind the facade of democracy.”
Parliamentary elections on October 31
Ivanishvili called these elections “unprecedented in the history of the country” and an event of “historical significance.”
Unprecedented because “in fair and equal elections, the ruling party was able to receive (a mandate for) a third term from the people.”
And historical, because these elections showed that a new political culture has emerged in Georgia: “The long-term practice of manipulating people’s feelings and changing their will in various ways has ended.”
According to Ivanishvili, the main reason for the victory of the Georgian Dream is that people, having compared the eight years of its rule with the nine-year rule of the previous government, ‘have come to the right conclusions.’
Ivanishvili believes that under the rule of the Georgian Dream “the people have grown and they will no longer tolerate a dictatorship.”
Comparison of the previous and current government
Ivanishvili writes about what, in his opinion, was the result of the nine-year rule of the United National Movement:
“Authoritarianism, narcissism, dictatorship based on fear and torture, seizure of public space and false propaganda, attempts to consolidate and perpetuate personal power, which led to a change in the constitution and the transition to pseudo-parliamentary rule. I am not talking about the tragedy of war and forced migrants, lost territories and Russian occupation, which left us with an even more difficult legacy,” writes Ivanishvili.
In the next paragraph, he refers to the results of the eight-year rule of the Georgian Dream:
“…there is an open and pluralistic democracy with an open public and information space, a parliamentary government strengthened by constitutional reform, the inadmissibility of fetishizing power, institutionally balanced power, justice and public institutions separated from politics, the rule of law and equality before it, the introduction of the practice of fair elections. And finally, a timely departure from politics.”
What has changed in the economy over the past eight years?
During the previous government, according to Ivanishvili, all business activities in the country were controlled, and big business was “held hostage” by the government.
As for the current government, according to the oligarch, “today business is not only free, but businessmen no longer even shy away from political statements or participation in politics.”
“The Georgian economy today is moving in the right and optimistic direction,” writes Ivanishvili.
“We finally put an end to government favoritism in business and monopolies created to enrich power. The most free and tolerant environment for entrepreneurship has been created ”.
Ivanishvili believes that poverty remains a serious problem for the country.
However, he does not admit responsibility for the situation:
“I cannot agree with the accusation that the poverty we have now is the result of Georgian Dream rule,” wrote Ivanishvili.
Today’s poverty is a problem that has accumulated for decades, he wrote:
“We succeeded and stopped the decline, which led to progress and poverty reduction, the final overcoming of which will require dedicated government work, peace, stability, democracy and a little more time,” the letter says.
According to him, the government of the Georgian Dream “did almost the maximum of its capabilities”, “maybe something did not work out quite as we hoped.”
Here Ivanishvili points out that the Georgian people had unrealistic expectations, because “Georgians are mostly emotional people who love to dream.”
At the same time, Ivanishvil names the opposition and opposition media as his main concern and problem.
“At the end of my political career, one of the things that makes me worry is that a state-minded and responsible opposition has not yet formed in the country. At least it would be in line with the standards of European parliamentary democracy. “
Among the unresolved problems, Ivanishvili named the media “spreading lies”.
In general, Ivanishvili devoted most of his letter to the topic of opposition. Mainly to the United National Movement, but also to other parties that boycott and refuse seats in parliament, considering the October 31 elections to be rigged.
According to Ivanishvili, he is leaving politics in the hope that part of the opposition, which “due to lack of political will, inexperience or spinelessness” followed “one man [Saakashvili’s] unbridled desire to seize power,” will understand that their position is futile.
Ivanishvili separately expresses gratitude to the Georgian people, church, his party, as well as the United States and the EU countries.
“I am leaving politics proud, with a feeling of victory and gratitude to the people. The people were able to appreciate my efforts in the interests of the country and the state. I am sure that the Georgian people will also appreciate my step today,” wrote Ivanishvili.