From left to right: Davit Usupashvili, leader of Republican Party; Bidzina Ivanishvili; Irakli Alasania, leader of OGFD and Kakha Shartava, leader of National Forum at the presentation of their coalition Georgian Dream on February 21. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge
Billionaire opposition politician, Bidzina Ivanishvili, announced on February 21 about formal launch of his coalition, Georgian Dream, which apart of his planned party also includes Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD), Republican Party and National Forum.
Leaders of Conservative Party and People’s Party, Zviad Dzidziguri and Koba Davitashvili, will also be represented in the coalition, but in their individual capacity as their respective parties do not act as founding members of the coalition. Dzidziguri’s Conservative Party is the only among Ivanishvili’s allies, which has a seat in the 13-member Central Election Commission.
“We already have a good team,” Ivanishvili said at the presentation of the coalition.
He also named members of the coalition’s political council – the group’s main executive body, which will be chaired by Ivanishvili.
Other members of the council are: Davit Berdzenishvili of the Republican Party; Zviad Dzidziguri; Alexi Petriashvili of OGFD and Nodar Khaduri from Ivanishvili’s planned party, who will also act as an executive secretary of the coalition’s political council.
Ivanishvili said, that the coalition would move to “active” phase of work from April after the establishment of his party.
“We will reach each and every citizen of Georgia,” he said, “we will encourage them to be active and at the same time we will protect them; we will unite them like a fist and I promise you that we will win [parliamentary] elections in October.”
A founding declaration of the coalition, which represents a 12-point document outlining key principle and policy priorities of the group in general terms, says that this year’s parliamentary elections would mark “a choice between freedom and dictatorship; justice and injustice; Euro-Atlantic integration and international isolation” for Georgia.
On foreign policy the declaration says that the coalition’s goal is to “ensure strengthening of the country’s security and regional positions, for which it will deepen integration with the European Union and NATO and participate in economic and peacekeeping processes of regional scale.”
It also says that after coming into power the coalition will “make the country’s reunification process irreversible, for which it will find the ways for dialogue with Abkhazians and Ossetians and will achieve concrete results in negotiations with Russia with the support of the international community.”
Kakha Shartava, leader of National Forum, the member party of Ivanishvili’s coalition said, that instead of being a place of confrontation between the major powers, Georgia should serve as “a round table for solving those problems, which represent a concern for those in our neighborhood and for our partners in EU and the United States.”
Davit Usupashvili, the leader of Republican Party, said at the presentation of the coalition that the group’s most challenging problem was that it had to confront “defeated government”.
“Dealing with defeated government is the most dangerous thing, because, as it seems, they have nothing to lose,” Usupashvili said. “They have lost their reputation, trust, moral right to be the rulers of this country.”
He said such a situation requires from the coalition to undertake “a very well-thought actions.”
“Today I am proud that together with such partners we continue our struggle for liberating Georgia from the National Movement, Mikheil Saakashvili’s unilateral rule and I am sure that together with each of you we will achieve this goal very quickly,” Irakli Alasania, leader of OGFD said at the coalition’s presentation.
In its declaration the coalition vows – without going into details - to “establish a balanced model” of governance through constitutional reform with “active participation of the public.”
On economy the declaration says that the coalition would help develop small and medium business and agriculture and establish “safe social environment and develop system of social solidarity.” It also vows to “protect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities and foster their integration into public life.”