In Quotes: Georgian Politicians on Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Departure

The ruling Georgian Dream party chairman and founder Bidzina Ivanishvili’s January 11 announcement about quitting the party chairmanship, the party itself and politics “for good” received mixed assessments from Georgian politicians.

Below is a compilation of some of the reactions.

“Throughout last years, Bidzina Ivanishvili was the creator of Georgian politics and its determining force. The most essential thing is the utterly important example of how to yield power when – for the first time in the history of the country – the public gives the party under your leadership a mandate to govern for three times in a row. Without a doubt, this is an extremely important example of the future development of our country.”

Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia:

Under the leadership of Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia has made significant progress in the fundamental areas characterizing modern, democratic states: strengthening democracy (constitutional reform, competitive and free elections, institutional reforms); defending human rights (penitentiary reform, judicial reform, media freedom, health, and social policy); freedom of business and property rights; responsible foreign policy, bringing tangible success on the path to European and Euro-Atlantic integration; strengthening peace and security (defense reforms and compatibility with NATO standards, participation in international missions, cooperation with strategic partners on security issues); development of strategic infrastructure (highways, tourism infrastructure, educational infrastructure).”

Archil Talakvadze, Parliament Speaker (GD)

“Bidzina Ivanishvili is a person who ensured the irreversible process of the country’s democratic development. Today, he decided that this irrevocable democratic process should not depend on the single man, including him. This should be established by the unity of independent and democratic institutions, stronger than ever before. His leaving is a big challenge for us, and we think that we will overcome it.”

Mamuka Mdinaradze, Chair of the Georgian Dream Parliamentary Fraction:

“By quitting politics, Bidzina Ivanishvili has proven once again that the power never held any appeal for him, his only interest in the politics was moving our country to the right track. Driven by this aspiration, he made a great democratic change in the development of our country, while establishing a new constitutional order. Bidzina Ivanishvili’s departure is a serious challenge for our political team, as well as for the country.”

Irakli Kobakhidze, Executive Secretary of the Georgian Dream

“How many times should this ignorant person [Ivanishvili] take the Georgian people for a fool? How many times should he deem that Georgia does not have a society, and does not possess the ability of evaluation and analysis? How many times should he laugh at us? Ivanishvili says that poverty is an objective reality, which we have to put up with… Poverty is a direct result of him picking five billion dollars out of the Georgian people’s pockets in the last eight years… Ivanishvili will indeed have to leave, however, he will not transfer the power to his minions, but to the Georgian opposition coalition.”

Mikheil Saakashvili, ex-President, the United National Movement

“He [Ivanishvili] assigned responsibility to his team, Georgian Dream, while declaratively retreating into shadows. Of course, this is a simply declarative escape, when he does not want to take the responsibility. The most important part of this letter is the central leitmotif of the criticism, insult, and abuse of the opposition and the United National Movement, as this person has nothing else to say to the Georgian citizens.”

Khatia Dekanoidze, United National Movement Party

“Ivanishvili’s statement of today is a demonstration of extreme irresponsibility and weakness. It is irresponsible when a billionaire rules the country for eight years… leaving the country… with tripled debt to pay. It is utmost irresponsibility when the national currency devaluated 2.5 times during your rule, impoverishing the majority of the population. It is utmost irresponsibility and weakness when you run away [from responsibility] during the [COVID-19] pandemic.”

Gigi Ugulava, European Georgia

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