Elections of Tbilisi Mayer could be certainly boring if conducted in conditions of the old-fashioned, factually two-pole model, where the “Georgian Dream” and the “National Movement” had higher advantage in comparison with others. While as of today, a situation occurs where an independent candidate may mobilize a number of voters who are disappointed by these two forces. Probably, this factor may not have an impact on final results of the elections, but still, it will have a significant influence of the Georgian politics.
During the 2014 self-governance elections, the many-sided inertia of polarization of the 2012 elections was still great, a confidence to Ivanishvili was also great, while a threat of revenge by “Nationals” was precepted quite realistically. However, there was a big number of disappointed voters as well who disliked bot these forces and their strange symbiosis. In the first round of hat elections 37,3% of Tbilisians were participating and, the “dreamers” candidate Narmania gained 49,09% of votes, while the “National’s” candidate Melia gained 27,97%. As to the other candidates, their results were as follows: Dimitri Lortkipanidze – candidate of “Nino Burjanadze – United Opposition”: 12,81%,Irma Inashvili (Patriots Alliance): 5,37%, Asmat Tkabladze (Labour Party): 2,46%, Kakha Kukava (Non-parliamentary Opposition): 2,32%, Giorgi Gachechiladze (The Green’s Party”: 1,13%. The other seven candidates failed to gain even more than 1% of votes.
Lortkipanidze’s result truly was not bad, taking into consideration the fact the strong followers of pro-western course are principle against of voting for representatives of Nino Burjanadze’s team. Lortkipanidze could even receive more votes if not Irma Inashvili’s factor, who can play the same role in this year and, take away a certain percentage of votes from the main candidate of the non-national’s opposition. In that period, it seems that there were two main reasons which have preconditioned a disappointment towards the state power: Less principal policy because of cohabitation with the representatives of former regime, and disappointment by non-observance of exaggerated promises; There were also claims regarding the personnel policy, foreign priorities etc., but, Dimitri Lortkipanidze had not enough resources for mobilization of all dissatisfied voters, a majority of which expressed their protest by non-participation in the elections (“silent boycott”).
Certain changes took place during three years. A process of weakening and disintegration of the National Movement” continued and, its demonstration by the “Georgian Dream” as a “deadly threat” turned to be comparably difficult, image of the leading party lowered. Instead ,a number of voters increased, for whom both elements of the two-pole ”Nationals – Dreamers” system is categorically unacceptable. Moreover, they distrust also all the old parties (the similar attitude is observed and is strengthening today not only in Georgia but in many other countries as well). In this conditions, Aleksandre Elisashvili appeared on the horizon ,who participates in the elections as an independent candidate.
His potential was well visible in 2014 elections where the “Georgian Dream” won in all the majoritarian districts of Tbilisi except for the Saburtalo district (No.03.05) where their representative GiorgiChichinadze gained 28,82% of votes, the National’s candidate Jarji Dolidze – 24,54%,while Aleksandre Elisshvili won that district with 33,49% of votes (all other candidates in total gained only 13,05%. Among them the best result gained Shalva Obgaidze (6,3%) from the “United Opposition” and Ioseb Badzagua (3,39%) from the “Patriots Alliance”. In that times, Alesandre Elisahvili’s activities in “Tiflisi Hamkari” and the journalistic field worked well for his favor. After becoming the Sakrebulo member, he was trying to maintain an image of “Politician of principles” and, criticized sharply the city governmental officials. However, he had also the serious gaps damaging his rating (e.g. the scandal related to the Pardon Commission). Currently he is in better situation than Lortkipanidze in 2014, since he is not associated with this or that political force, while the feeling of tiredness and hate towards the old system, is considerably increased in the large public.
Existence of potential, does not mean itself as a repetition of “Macron’s Miracle”. Elisashvili does not hold enough resources, at the same time, the Tbilisi Elite does not need him at all. For this social group it would be much more safe to make deal with Kaladze within the scopes of unwritten pact executed by Ivanishvili, that implies mutually beneficial cooperation and immunity of privileges. It cannot be excluded that Elisahvili with his radical statements, (on the other hand, mobilization of peoples masses without such radicalism is almost impossible) threatens it, since after the Rises Revolution, those who came into the power by the similar slogans, then started a total re-distribution the property and spheres of influence. Won of elections in Tbilisi without the support of the city elite (or even its part) is practically impossible, while Elisashvili’s position can be formulated as follows: The existing system is bad, however, its destabilization may cost unjustified expensive.
At the same time, the leading party has now a stronger candidate than it had in 2014, since this r candidate holds comparably big resources. The experts circles speaks really not about a winner but whether or not everything will be ended in the first round .the latter case would be very comfortable for the power, but, the position of “Nationals” seems to be much more interesting in this context.
Despite weakening, the “National Movement” still maintains a part of its old supporters and hopes to come back to the power. Their leaders understand perfectly that an attempt of revenge, unlike playing the role of “Pocket Opposition” is associated with a deadly threat and they will have only one chance of such attempt. As at today, there exist no justified preconditions for revenge by the “Nationals”. For this, among others, it seems necessary to worsen even deeply a state of the leading party.
When realizing the situation, a quite natural idea may be formed regarding use of Aleko Elisashvili’s factor. To say simply, if the National will go to the direction of sharpening the situation, only a very strong supporters will follow them while their opponents will be integrated together against them But, the situation will be different if the opponents of the leading party will be integrated around Elisashvili while the Nationals will act behind the stage and add oil to fire, because their open play and support of Elisashvili will not be welcomed by their fans.
This seems logical, but in this case, the tactical and strategic interests of the National contradict each other. On one hand, Nationals want to weaken the state power’s position and, this may become possible to provoke “Maidan” by other’s hands, but, at the same time they do not want to loss the second place (they cannot even dream to win in Tbilisi), that may be one more sign of the “Main Oppositional Force”. These two strivings push the Nationals to move in two different directions.
Another theme is that all the oppositional candidates may integrate in such a way that closure to the national would not cause certain irritation of voters – this would be falsification of the elections .The situation may become favorable in case if the leading party’s candidate will gain a bit more of 50% of votes while all other candidates will agree in advance on the principles of cooperation . But, since falsification is a topic after almost all elections, the resources of mobilization potential of this theme will b insignificant if not confirmed documentary.
Despite this t6hreat, the government prefers to tension the forces and achieve victory in the first round or at list stand face-to-face with the National’s candidate in the second round, in order to ensure elections. The most problematic for the leading party will be if Elisashvili achieves the second round because all oppositional voters may be integrated around him while the Nationals will try to tension the situation. The most interesting here is that in case of the second round the political technological structure named “Georgian Dream against Nationals” will be destroyed finally which was operating successfully during the last five years, by Ivanishvili.
Influence of stereotypes in a voter’s conscience may be weakened and such a voter may become less controllable.
The problem for the leading party is not Elisahvili with not so rich resources, and in certain cases with alogical calculations, (Pardon Commission Scandal) or the revenge-like striving of the “Nationals”, but if the voters notice an alternative behind this two-pole system and make themselves ready to fight and win. To say simply, Bidzina Inanishvili is less interested in weakened opposition, but he is actually afraid of waked-up people.