TBILISI, DFWatch–Members of the two main political blocs in Georgia are discussing who might be their candidate for the presidential election in October, 2013. Both plan to hold a ballot to select their candidate.
In a recent survey conducted by the National Democratic Institute, a democracy building agency funded by the United States’ government, 58 percent of respondents said they want the Georgian Dream coalition’s candidate as their next president, while only 8 percent said they would like the UNM candidate.
With this as backdrop, most of the attention has turned to Georgian Dream’s selection process. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili from the coalition says that they will have a candidate who doesn’t have ‘politician’ written on his or her diploma.
“The main thing is that the candidate for president should be unifying and really managing the country,” Usupashvili said. He added that none of the candidates of the United National Movement will be a serious contender to the coalition’s candidate.
Usupashivili ended speculation about himself by saying that he is not a candidate, and that the Republican Party which he is member of will not have its own candidate.
This also rules out Vakhtang Khmaladze, whom Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvivi has mentioned previously as a good potential candidate. Khmaladze is a member of the Republican Party.
Eliso Chapidze, also a member of parliament for Georgian Dream, said the coalition will consider more than five persons as candidates for president and that they should be ‘educated, honorable, with a clean past and handsome as well.’
She said it is no secret that there is discussion about selecting Kakhi Kaladze, Former AC Milan player and now energy minister.
But Kaladze said it would be really hard for him to decide if he wants to be a candidate or not for his age and lack of experience in politics.
At a meeting with journalists a few days ago he said that he is ready to work on any position to serve the people and the country. He added that he hasn’t received this type of proposal yet.
“Currently I am in a very responsible position and I will try to meet their expectations,” he said, adding that if the coalition or the PM decides so, he is ready to work in a lower level position.
Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, who for a long time was thought to be a likely pick for Georgian Dream, said in a recent TV interview that he knows who might be candidate, but didn’t specify who. He said the coalition doesn’t plan to hold a primary election, but instead select its candidate at a session of the political council on May 11. He will also participate in that discussion, and possibly on Monday the coalition will name its candidate.
“I can tell you that I have seen the final episode of the presidential candidate selection process,” he said on Channel 1. “I know almost for certain who will be named and who has a chance.”
Meanwhile on Thursday Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava from the UNM said he assumed that the coalition’s candidate will be education minister Giorgi Margvelashvili, but he thinks that the best candidates would be Irakli Alasania from Georgian Dream and Davit Bakradze, former Speaker of Parliament, from the UNM.
He said he cannot name who will be candidate for the UNM, as the party plans to hold a primary election.
Ugulava said he is not considered a candidate as he has to serve four years as Mayor of Tbilisi and the terms ends in 2014.
According to Giorgi Vashadze, a member of parliament from UNM, the party is considering more than five candidates.
“Even though the powers of the president is getting restricted, his position is still very important for correctly governing the country. That’s why we will have a really serious election campaign and I think our candidate will be way better than any candidate of Georgian Dream,” he said at a press conference at Radio Club of Pirveli Radio. Vashadze added that he doesn’t plan to be a candidate himself as he is too young.
Giga Bokeria, Secretary of the Security Council and one of the most powerful members of UNM, said that he doesn’t plan to run as a candidate in the party’s primary election because he ‘is realistic about his own abilities.’
Giorgi Baramidze, former Minister of Euro-Atlantic Integration, last week told journalists that he plans to launch his candidacy in the primary election. He said he is ready to represent his party as a party which develops and has skills to turn back and to discuss its own mistakes and achievements and present better perspectives.