Ivanishvili returned his favorite to politics
Former Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has been appointed as new political secretary of the ruling Georgian Dream party. This decision was made at a meeting of the party’s political council, chaired by leader of the party Bidzina Ivanishvili. Billionaire's decision to return Garibashvili to politics became another evidence that shows that the ruling team is in a crisis.
Collapse of the ruling party, which will be in power for at least another year (until parliamentary elections of 2020), is an unprecedented event for Georgia. Eduard Shevardnadze's Union of Citizens disappeared into oblivion right after victory of the rose revolution, led by Mikheil Saakashvili. Later, Aslan Abashidze's Revival party also ceased to exist. The United National Movement (UNM) of Mikheil Saakashvili split into the National Movement and the European Georgia just a few years after defeat in the 2012 parliamentary elections.
What's happening today with the ruling party, which defeated all rivals at 2016 elections and gained majority in the parliament, may seem pretty strange at first glance. After secession of group of deputies from the Georgian Dream, this party lost its constitutional majority. But the process of its collapse obviously hasn't finished yet with departure of the opportunists, including former head of the parliament's legal committee, Eka Beselia, a pretty famous figure, who was considered one of the founders of the Georgian Dream.
Another statement on deputies leaving the Georgian Dream was made by Social Democrats. They plan to unite with the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia, which has a reputation as pro-Russian party. And that's not all. A few more deputies are preparing to leave the ranks of the ruling party.
The main reason for this split is the fact that even though coalition has almost no political competition in the parliament, personal ambitions of certain politicians finally became obvious.
Categorical rejection of candidates for life-long positions as judges of the Supreme Court became the final straw. However, not only some of the leaving deputies are against these questionable candidates, but also the entire opposition, part of the civil sector and Georgian society. Some say that despite obviously difficult situation, which is getting even worse, Ivanishvili was somehow forced to stand by presented list of candidates.
Ivanishvili himself, who formally has nothing to do with what was happening, didn't comment on this situation. Chairman of the parliament Irakli Kobakhidze gave explanation, but it only made situation worse. Agreeing that some candidates for position of judges of the Supreme Court didn't have a good reputation, he noted that their reputation was ruined during the rule of Saakashvili’s National Movement, but now everything will be different. In other words, these judges are the best, but they were forced to make unfair decisions under pressure from the former authorities, and now, when authorities are good, they won't be pressured and will be able to work under normal conditions and make objective decisions.
While this scandal hasn't been resolved yet, another one appeared. Under pressure from prosecutor's office, and then at the request of the National Bank of Georgia, Mamuka Khazaradze resigned from the post of chairman of the supervisory board of the country's largest TBC bank. The reason was this resignation, according to prosecutor's office, is the fact that after an audit, it was found out 10 years ago Khazaradze was involved in suspicious transaction, which showed "signs of money laundering."
Today Khazaradze accuses Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia of pressuring him, saying that he allegedly received a threatening letter. He also hints at Ivanishvili’s involvement in what's happening right now. At the same time, during parliamentary hearings, Khazaradze refused to show this letter and didn't provide additional details. Gakharia gave a short comment: every person should take responsibility for things he says.
A lot has already been said about this scandal. Some even say that Moscow is behind all of this, since it's against the construction of the Anaklia seaport, in which TBC bank participated. However, the "Russian version", presented by the opposition, has nothing to do with reality. For inexperienced man from the street, this situation only hurts position of the Georgian Dream and its chairman, making it seem like the “nationalist” style of Saakashvili.
In such difficult conditions of constant external pressure from opposition and society, as well as internal pressure, which was tearing the ruling party apart, Ivanishvili decided to return his longtime favorite Garibashvili to politics, appointing him as political secretary of the Georgian Dream. Garibashvili's main task is to stop further collapse of the ruling team. In addition, he was given the task to win upcoming parliamentary elections in one of the majoritarian districts - Tbilisi. He took the place of Salome Zurabishvili, who won presidential elections and gave up her deputy mandate.
Experts call Irakli Garibashvili’s return to politics a public recognition of existence of serious problems and personnel shortage by Bidzina Ivanishvili. In addition, Garibashvili, whom Ivanishvili made his successor as prime minister in 2013, resigned two years later, and there was no criticizm following that. Ivanishvili negatively commented on all other notable resignations.