Ruling Georgian Dream party chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili said in a lengthy January 11 missive that he quits the party chairmanship, the party itself and politics “for good.”
Noting that the Georgian Dream (GD) team can “substitute for my work, prestige, and abilities with distinction,” Ivanishvili said his “mission is complete” and he returns to “the private way of life.”
GD leader said both of his goals from 2011, to finish the “undemocratic regime” of then President Mikheil Saakashvili’s and continuing Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration which could become compromised as people saw Saakashvili’s rule endorsed by the West, were now achieved.
Ivanishvili stated that turning 65 in a few weeks has been among the important reasons to shape the decision, intending to promote younger members of the party. This, GD founder said, “will further strengthen and motivate the ruling party, encourage our supporters and energize the government.”
He then went on to compare the nine years of “evil” rule of the United National Movement party to that of eight years of the Georgian Dream in power, noting that the latter serves as the “main deterrent” of UNM.
GD founder slammed the UNM over “authoritarianism,” “fear and torture based dictatorship,” “propaganda of lies” and altering the constitution to cement its power. He went on to express regrets over media outlets “in service of politically bankrupted party,” and said that the scale of “fake news” hit the unimaginable low in Georgia.
Ivanishvili then credited GD rule for achieving “peace, open and pluralistic democracy with open public and information space, strengthening parliamentary system via constitutional reform, the inadmissibility of fetishizing a ruler, balanced institutions of power, judiciary and public institutions separated from the court and the rule of law.”
Ex-chairman also spoke about the “shortcomings.” Noting that Georgians, in general, are “emotional and dreamy people,” he presented “sincere apologies” to those who “expected more from [Georgian Dream], including rapid improvement of the economic situation, but was disappointed.”
Another regret at the end of his political career, Ivanishvili said, is that “no responsible opposition with state interests at its heart could yet be formed in the country, which could at the very least live up to the standards of the European parliamentary democracy.” He then expressed the hope that, someday, a “conscientious political force” will emerge, pushing the GD into the opposition. “This is my most important future dream,” he added.
In his farewell letter, Ivanishvili touched upon the October 31 parliamentary elections as well, accusing the opposition of failing to admit to the election defeat and taking the state, its people, peace and stability hostage in their quest to assume power “at any cost.”
For Ivanishvili, who has founded the Georgian Dream party in 2012, it is not the first departure from active politics. He first retired from his leadership positions, including from his posts as a Prime Minister and a party chairman, in 2013. The former PM then returned in May 2018 to again assume the party chairman post, citing the country’s wellbeing as the main objective behind his comeback.