The ruling Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party would not field its own candidate for the October presidential elections, but will rather back a non-partisan candidate, announcing its choice after the registration process ends on September 8.
Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze made the statement on August 26, pledging to “actively join” the campaign. “We will definitely support one of the independent candidates. [Expressing] Our position [of support towards a candidate] is important because we have assumed responsibility before the voters also for these presidential elections,” Kobakhidze said.
Tbilisi Mayor and Secretary General of the ruling party, Kakha Kaladze confirmed that the GDDG would prefer to support “a non-partisan candidate.” “Let’s wait until all candidates are nominated and only afterwards we will make a [final] decision,” he said.
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze also confirmed on August 21 that the GDDG would continue observing the developments, as well as the candidates registered for the polls, and make “a decision accordingly.”
The option of GDDG not fielding a candidate or backing an independent was first voiced by the party founder and leader Bidzina Ivanishvili in his July interview to the Public Broadcaster. The ruling party leaders said on August 6 that the party would not field a candidate for the upcoming elections and would instead endorse an independent nominee.
On the same day, an independent MP Salome Zurabishvili announced her candidacy, reportedly with GDDG’s tacit backing. However, after some of her initial controversial statements triggered public criticism, the media speculated that GDDG was split on backing Zurabishvili.
As of now, 31 candidates have been nominated, out of which 15 are non-partisan.