An opinion Piece
By Irakli Kakabadze
With less than two weeks until the Presidential elections, the Georgian electorate demonstrates apathy and mistrust for those running in the elections. Although there are many candidates, most are viewed with a certain distrust by the population. Much of the electorate sees the leading candidates as representing the political elite. The top three candidates were all highly placed officials during the Saakashvili government – both Salome Zourabishvili and Grigol Vashadze were Foreign Ministers, and David Bakradze was the Chairman of the Parliament. Among other candidates there are no charismatic leaders who express the will of the majority of the electorate nor address their issues. For example about 367,000 families in Georgia are to be evicted from their homes due to a faulty bank loan process. None of the candidates addressed this issue during their campaign. One positive note is gender. One of the leading candidates, Salome Zourabishvili, has a chance to become Georgia’s first woman president which will be a great milestone in King Tamara’s country.
And what of Russia, Georgia’s antagonist to the north? It appears the Russians don’t favour any particular candidate. Perhaps their best hope is to get something out of the one who happens to win. One of the candidates worked for the Russian Foreign Ministry – the others have not. But this time Russian soft power is centered on other parts of the world: influencing the Caucasian region with events in Syria and the Middle East, since many Georgians and Armenians are afraid of Wahhabi influence continuing to spread in the region, especially just to the north in territories that touch Georgia. This issue was also not widely discussed by the presidential candidates.
And again, the keys to the electoral boxes lie not in the pockets of ordinary people, but of the billionaire who rules everything in Georgia. That is what ordinary people think.