Welcome back! The Daily Dispatch is our editorial take on the past day’s news. You can subscribe here to get it in your mailbox. Click to write to us! We’d love to hear your ideas and opinions. Giorgi Tskhakaia has been sifting through the news for you.
RATTLING OPPOSITION’S CAGE? Georgian Dream’s executive secretary Irakli Kobakhidze has been picked as the ruling party’s campaign manager ahead of pivotal parliamentary polls. Given Mr. Kobakhidze’s flamethrower rhetoric, as one local pundit put it, his appointment is like throwing oil on a fire. To jog your memory, the former Parliament Speaker was booted out of office last year after a Communist-cum-Orthodox Russian MP briefly occupied his chair. He has since been brought in from the cold by Bidzina Ivanishvili, the party’s patron, and his main function seems to be to verbally maim the opposition. So, at least two things are certain – the ruling party is not even thinking about de-escalating the tensions, and Mr. Kobakhidze keeps his place as a Dispatch splash.
FACEBOOK TO POLICE GEORGIAN POLITICAL ADS A few weeks ago, a 47-strong group of Georgian CSOs appealed to Facebook to take action against sponsored, inauthentic users, who they claim seek to undermine the elections by waging disinformation and smear campaigns. It seems the plea has fallen on ready ears. As former ISFED head reported, the social media behemoth will keep tabs on political ads in the run-up to the polls, and police them where necessary. Such malefactors are hardly running riot, in fact, as Facebook took down scores of suspicious accounts twice (here and here).
THE NARCISS SHRUGGED For dozen-or-so political outfits, it’s tough to stay united, even if the word itself is inserted in their name. Giorgi Vashadze of New Georgia party, eager to put himself on the map, suggested disbanding the Strength in Unity coalition, a group of UNM’s satellite parties unless it agrees to name a PM hopeful – which would (or should?) be himself, as you may surmise. He conceded that the group should still field joint candidates in the majoritarian districts. UNM, vexed by an upstart punching above his weight, was blunt: we are the backbone of coalition’s unity and disgruntled members can simply leave, UNM’s senior MP Gotsiridze quipped.