Ruling party founder Ivanishvili leaves politics: ‘my mission accomplished’

Bidzina Ivanishvili left politics in 2013 and returned as the head of the ruling party back in 2018. Photo: Georgian Dream press office., 11 Jan 2021 - 11:26, Tbilisi,Georgia

The founder and the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili has left the party and politics, saying that his ‘mission has been accomplished.’ 

In an open letter released earlier today, Ivanishvili stated that the current leadership of the party could replace ‘his hard work, authority and skills in a worthy manner.’ 

I have made the decision to finally retire from politics and fully distance myself from the reins of power. I am leaving the post of party chairman, as well as the party itself and am returning to my pre-2011, private lifestyle. I will turn 65 years old in just a few weeks, and this is one of the important factors in making the decision to retire from politics,” Ivanishvili said, adding that the step ‘which is dictated by the desire to advance young people to the forefront...will not only not weaken, but will, in fact, further strengthen the ruling party.’

Ivanishvili said that in coming into politics in 2011 he had two goals - ‘putting an end to Mikheil Saakashvili's (the third president of Georgia) violent, inhumane, and undemocratic regime through elections and to allow the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration.’ 

Ivanishvili stated that the 2020 elections 'have clearly demonstrated the public responsibility of the Georgian people, as well as their ability to consolidate and engage in rational and critical thinking.' Photo: Georgian Dream press office. 

Both tasks were accomplished successfully: we removed the violent regime from power without bloodshed, through elections, and we laid the foundation for an eight-year period of our country's peaceful and democratic development,” Ivanishvili stated. 

He stated that today ‘this evil’ (referring to the UNM and Saakashvili) has been ‘significantly weakened’. 

Unfortunately, however, its harmful effects can still be felt and to this day, the Georgian Dream remains its main deterrent”, Ivanishvili said. 

He stated that after eight years in power ‘something unprecedented’ has happened in the history of Georgia and the party won parliamentary elections for the third time. 

This victory is the clearest, most distinct and indisputable recognition of our joint efforts and precisely this victory will lay the foundation for a new stage in the history of Georgia. In my estimation, the latest Parliamentary elections are of historic significance. These elections have shown, in the most clear-cut manner, that the years-long practice of manipulating people's feelings and changing the will of the people in various ways has come to an end,” Ivanishvili said. 

Ivanishvili stated that 2020 elections were conducted in the full line with democratic standards. He stated that the 2012 parliamentary elections were a classic example of one of the 'most flagrant instances of falsification, intimidation, bribery, and harassment of political opponents' organised by the UNM leadership. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

He stated that the Georgian people ‘have withstood unprecedented informational falsehoods and chaos’, and made a choice in favor of the political force ‘that will never betray the values that united and interconnected the largest part of our nation in 2012.’ 

Ivanishvili expressed hope that the opposition parties who refuse to take up their mandates in parliament ‘will become convinced of the futility of [their] inappropriate attitude towards the interests of the homeland due to political selfishness and one man's (Saakashvili’s) unbridled desire to seize power.

He stated that one of the things that worries him now is that ‘no state-oriented and responsible opposition has yet been formed in the country that would meet the minimal standards of European parliamentary democracies.’ 

Ivanishvili said that the country still lacks the European style opposition parties. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

Ivanishvili stated that the result of the nine-year activity of UNM was authoritarianism, self-fetishization, a dictatorship based on fear and torture, a seizure of public space, false propaganda, and an attempt to reinforce and perpetuate personal power. 

He stated that in contrast to the activities of the UNM the results of the eight-year governance of the Georgian Dream are peace, open and pluralist democracy with open public and informational space, parliamentary governance strengthened by constitutional reform, the rejection of the fetishization of the authorities, an institutionally balanced government, a judiciary and public institutions that are detached from politics, the rule of law and equality before it, the establishment of the practice of fair elections.