Observers say that Ivanishvili is trying to support his candidate for the presidency - Salome Zourabichvili, against whom an online campaign is being waged" />

Journalists refuse interview with leader of ruling Georgian party

Observers say that Ivanishvili is trying to support his candidate for the presidency - Salome Zourabichvili, against whom an online campaign is being waged

The chairman of the Georgian Dream party and former Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili announced that he was ready to give a “big interview” this week, just several days before the presidential elections.

Ivanishvili named the journalists with whom he was ready to talk to on 22 October.

These are Giorgi Gabunia from Rustavi-2, Inga Grigolia from TV-1, and Irakli Chikhladze from Imedi. The Georgian Dream press service said that these journalists lead “top-rated” talk shows, and this is why they were chosen by Ivanishvili.

However, only Irakli Chikhladze agreed to speak to Ivanishvili.

Read also: Why is the Georgian public not wild about the ruling party’s presidential candidate

Inga Grigolia wrote on Facebook that she was engaged in the next broadcast of her TV programme and that she would be unable to meet with Ivanishvili.

Grigolia said that the management of the channel will decide whom to send to speak with Ivanishvili, but that she was ready to interview him at another time.

What position Giorgi Gabunia has taken is not yet known, although Nika Gvaramia, the general director of Rustavi-2, wrote on Facebook that he found personal invitations to journalists for interviews unacceptable.

The list of selected journalists did not include representatives of the Public Broadcaster. Georgian Dream explained this choice by the fact that Ivanishvili had already given a lengthy interview to this TV company after his return to politics.

The current meeting with journalists will take place, presumably, in the office of Georgian Dream at 22:00. The interview will be recorded on the cameras of the ruling party, and the feed will be provided to all interested media networks.

In a statement circulated by Georgian Dream, Bidzina Ivanishvili said that he intended to meet with journalists more actively in the future and in various formats.

Bidzina Ivanishvili announced his return to politics back in April, and returned as the chairman of the Georgian Dream party. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said at the time that he had personally asked Ivanishvili to return to politics on behalf of the ruling party. Kvirikashvili resigned a few months later, citing differing opinions on a number of positions with Ivanishvili.

Bidzina Ivanishvili resigned as prime minister four years ago. After winning the 2012 parliamentary elections, he headed the Georgian government, but in 2013 he voluntarily left the post of prime minister, and, as he said then, “moved to the civilian sector”.

Despite the fact that Ivanishvili has not held official state positions over the past few years, many think that he is in control of the government.

Ivanishvili did not participate in the 2017 local government elections: unlike the current elections, he did not even put in an appearance on TV commercials nor did he speak to the public.

Observers say that the fact that Ivanishvili has decided to address the public testifies to the fact that the government-supported independent candidate Salome Zourabichvili is in a difficult situation.

Elections in Georgia will be held on 28 October in which the fifth president of Georgia will be elected.

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