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Can New Faces Save the “Georgian Dream”?

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Can New Faces Save the “Georgian Dream”?

Changes started in the “Georgian Dream” Party. Irakli Garibashvili, after returning back to the proscenium. Became the political secretary of the party. A program of attraction of new people started under supervision of Kakha Kaladze, Will all this and other novelties help the leading party which is now facing difficulties?

“we work for attracting new faces in the team, and this does not cover the party leadership only, we speakabout regional organizations, strengthening the party with new people” –Mamuka Mdinaradze,  chairman of the “Georgian Dream” fraction  declared to the “Riutavi-2”. We search for people who deserve certain authority in their regions, village, municipality, in the country as a whole”  – one of the leader of the party SozarSubari indicated in  “Palitranews” program (Earlier, a politologistAleksandreChachia offered the similar proposal to the government, to make emphasis on famous local individuals, but his proposal remained without a due attention, as seen now – by mistake. Ed.). This and some other similar comments indicated clearly that the main purpose of a new mobilization is to overcome the parliamentary elections and, to this end, the “Georgian Dream” is interested in “new faces”, first of all, i.e. in façade decoration. In this context, we may recall the 2016 pre-election period when the Party introduced to the public Irakli Kobakhidze (Mdinaradze, Talakvadze, etc.), as an illustration of advancing the progressive cadres. All  know what came out from that initiation – at first hidden and then open confrontation between “old” and “new” guards inside the Party, that led it to the edge of disintegration

History of the “Georgian Party” is factually the history of imbalance , when one group inside it becomes disproportionally stronger while the other groups integrate against it and try to assure Bidzina Ivanishvili and the total public that such strengthening contains a great threat. This factor has played an important role in the past, in cases of dismissing Garibashvili, Kumsiashvili, Kvirikashvili, limitation of positions of Kaladze’s team. However, her another thing is more important: When this or that group leaves positions or makes a step backward, a certain vacuum is created in its sphere of influence, and other influential groups try to fill-out it. This is the  process of  a chaotic nature and finally, the system becomes more unstable than it was before the changes. In 2018, in about the period when Bidzina Ivanishvili came back on the Party Chairman position, s seem he realized that the above said “balance” cannot restored by itself. The “guards war’ in the parliament demonstrated clearly that this process is not subjected to  self-regulationand, requires rather a severe interference

This problem takes its origin from an unspecified, “interim” nature of the leading party. It is insufficiently democratic to manage restoration of the balance through using the democratic instruments and, at he same time is insufficiently authoritarian to ensure stabilization based on the “authoritarian rationalism”. The situation we are observing now, looks more like a feudal disorder, so, its perception by society, is changed correspondingly. Today, commentators speak a lot about, what my happen when Garibashvili’s group will clash to Kkalazde and Kobakhidze’sone, almost a war and not a more or less  healthy competition inside the party. It is less probable that  adding the Garibashvili’s element or some others in this system, will make it more stable – just a balance of forces will be changed, nothing more.

The recent developments have demonstrated clearly that the only integrating factor for the leading party is it desire to preserve power and, this factor pushes its leaders to consolidation, in the pre-election period. However, the disagreement regarding the presidency candidate in the last pre-election period (which was a manifestation of a deeper confrontation) caused the situation where a part of leaders moved to almost “silent sabotage” mode, before the first round. In comparison with the 2012-2016 years period, the situation is obviously different now – the process moved out of the ordinary course and, a confrontation between the “guards” and controversies regarding the elections list, may have a very negative outcome.

One of the main reasons of comeback of Garibashvili is to regulate relations with the “old guard” – here we must imply not those PMs who left the majority, but the voters, who preserve support to “2012 Principles” and, dislike too much Kobakhidze’steam . It is not difficult  what do they feel today, when Ivanishvili asked them for help  (and received it) before the second round ,while in two months he commit the things which were too far from his promises and expectations of voters (events developed regarding the list of judges, attack of Kobakhidze’s group to the positions of  “Old Guasd”, etc.). At a certain moment it became obvious that “the “Georgian Dream” losses a core of its own electorate .

These voters do not like much Garibashvili too, however, they know that he had a rather rigid attitude towards the representatives of former state authorities. Another case I that just during the period when he was the premier, started the process of mass porting of the “Nationals” into the “Dream”. However, it is also true that some steps and statements of Garibashvili differ considerably from Kobakhidze’s histories about fascists who became gentle after the war. Anyway, Irakli Garibashvili had not so warm attitudes to Vano Zardiashvili and Levan Murusidze.

Sociological monitoring and  the experience gained from the presidential elections, make is clear that the “anti-fascist” mood remains still actual in a larger part of the society and forms a significant political resource as it was  proved during the second round of these elections, but,it is obvious also that a majority of the electorate has decrypted long ago the main polit-technological scheme of the “Georgian Dream”  that envisages creation of scarecrow from Mikheil Saakashvili and, as a matter of fact, offers to the citizens to vote for the “Georgian Dream” just because it is less evil than the “National Movement”. There are number of indicators showing that  such the approach irritates more and more people in the last years,correspondingly, there exist two factors – still actual “anti-fascism” on one hand, and an obsolete tactic of its use, on the other hand. He we should note that this is a defensive tactic – “wolf comes and we’d better to go far of it”  – this envisages in lesser degree  the preventive measures.

Due too these factors the “Georgian Dream” may try “to swim in river second time”, from which it came out (jumped out, to say more exactly) in 2014-2014,ij order to integrate its electorate around the new tactics directed against the”Nationals”. To say simply,  it will not wait for a moment when the Nationals and their affiliated groups will rise a campaign for cancelling the majoritarian elections (that, as expected, will reach its culmination at the end of the spring season)and make its steps, e.g. to adopt with slightly changed form the resolution developed by the “Patriots Alliance”, envisaging announcement of the Saaklashvili’s regime as criminal.

Adoption of such a resolution will cause automatically tabling the responsibility of some  top officials and correspondingly, activation of the  investigation processes   as well as apply of limitations regarding occupation of certain positions by  individuals who were actively collaborating with the former regime. Such the policy will cause a guaranteed sharpening of relations between the “Georgian Dream” and the “National Movement” and, by a higher probability, will put the voters before the same dilemma (but with reaching this point through another route) as in case of 2016 elections. This is a profitable step for the “Georgian Dream”, but, a probability that the process will go exactly with to this direction, is not so high. The leading party fears of a negative reaction of the western partners and, at the same time, is not  enough  energetic itself  to implement the similar policy. However, it is quite possible that “Georgian Dream”may “mark” steps to this direction and, Irakli Garibashvili may be instructed to play the main role here

As seen, Bidzina Ivanishvili tries to achieve at two goals one and the same time. He needs at first just a comparable stabilization inside the party and a pre-election consolidation of the voters. A paradox, but the steps to be made by the party in this one direction may separate it far from the above mentioned “anti-nationals” initiations. Presumably this will not be acceptable to the “new guard” because the criteria of assessment of politicians which were for the electorate in 2012-2014, will again become an agenda. For the members ofKobakhidze’s group, which is not perceived as fighters against the former regime, this would not be desirable and may resist it.However, it is difficult to imagine an alternative this group may offer to Ivanishvili for the pre-election period. So, a fact is that the Party is in  a deep crisis  and, Bidzina Ivanishvili will be  forced to make extraordinary steps for saving it.

Dimitri Moniava

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