The leader of Georgia’s Dream party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has called on voters to stick by him and put their trust in the government of his choosing until 2030 – at least.
Ivanishvili, who is one of the richest men in the country, gave a 45-minute interview on national TV. As reported by Euroasianet online, Georgians were glued to their TV screens. They listened to Ivanishvili explain how the country’s gross domestic product per capita almost tripled to $10,000 and that the Georgian dream of joining the European Union already a reality.
According to Eurasianet, Ivanishvili was disarmingly honest in the interview about the influence that he has maintained over the government and the ruling Georgia Dream party since stepping down as prime minister in 2013. He expounded on how he has participated in key government decisions, such as selecting the new prime minister and searching for a candidate for new president, but denied that all that amounted to being the shadow ruler of Georgia.
“They are confusing informal governance with public oversight,” Ivanishvili told Channel 1. “The public put a degree of trust in me and I can use this trust at any moment and criticize any leader. […]We don’t have an extensive experience of public oversight of the government and I’m there to fill that gap.”
In a separate report, Vestnik Kavkaza online noted that Ivanishvili – after taking the helm of his party – dismissed Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili along with his team. He also shifted policy to the “left” – towards greater government intervention in the economy.
More specifically, Ivanishvili said that by “deepening democratic reforms” in terms of political pluralism and multi-party system, Georgia will be able to enlist the support of European democracies and join the EU by 2030.