TBILISI, DFWatch–Businessman and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said Monday that he would like to see Irakli Garibashvili as president.
Ivanishvili said this while meeting with local media in Rustavi, a town south of Tbilisi.
He said the former PM is ‘a good option for a spare’ president and that despite his resignation, Garibashvili is ready to return to politics.
Ivanishvili is the billionaire behind the Georgian Dream (GD) coalition, whose eponymous core party is seeking renewed trust from the voters in the parliamentary election on October 8.
Ivanishvili was prime minister the first year GD was in government until 2013, when he ostensibly retired to a quiet life away from politics. But most Georgians doubt that he has fully retired, and consider him a godfather to the government, controlling it from behind the scenes.
The billionaire often praises his successor as PM, Garibashvili, who resigned unexpectedly at the end of December, 2015, but has a strained relationship with President Giorgi Margvelashvili, after the latter decided to move into the president’s palace built by his predecessor Mikheil Saakashvili.
In the election campaign, Ivanishvili has been touring the regions of Georgia, offering advice to voters in television debates with locals. His recommendation of Garibashvili for president came during one such TV appearance during the Kvemo Kartli stop of his tour in Rustavi.
“He is in a good shape. He had fourth child – a girl. It is good that there are such good options in Georgian politics. I am over 60 now and I cannot be a good option. I have no desire. But Irakli [Garibashvili] is a good option,” he said, adding that Garibashvili loves his country.
Journalists asked him if he was aware what Garibashvili is doing now. He said that he is in Kakheti trying to choose a line of business.
“However it took him to long to choose,” he added.