Georgian Dream –
Democratic Georgia
ქართული ოცნება –
დემოკრატიული საქართველო
ChairmanIrakli Kobakhidze
Secretary-GeneralKakha Kaladze
Executive SecretaryMamuka Mdinaradze
Political SecretaryIrakli Gharibashvili
Regional SecretaryDimitri Samkharadze
Relations with Political Parties SecretaryGia Volski
FounderBidzina Ivanishvili
Founded21 April 2012; 10 years ago (2012-04-21)
HeadquartersTbilisi
IdeologySocial democracy[1]
Pro-Europeanism[2]
Factions:
Liberalism[3]
Social conservatism[4][5]
Political positionCentre-left[6][7][8]
European affiliationParty of European Socialists (observer)
International affiliationProgressive Alliance[9]
Colours  
Sloganთავისუფლება, სწრაფი განვითარება, კეთილდღეობა ("Freedom, Rapid Development, Welfare")
Seats In Parliament
75 / 150
Municipal Councilors
1,359 / 2,068
Seats In Supreme Council of Adjara
14 / 21
Seats In Tbilisi City Assembly
29 / 50
Seats In Kutaisi City Assembly
18 / 35
Seats In Batumi City Assembly
17 / 35
Municipal Mayors
63 / 64
Website
gd.ge?lang=en

Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia (Georgian: ქართული ოცნება – დემოკრატიული საქართველო, Kartuli ocneba – Demok’rat’iuli Sakartvelo) is a social democratic political party in Georgia. The party was established on 19 April 2012 by the billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili.[10] Georgian Dream and its partners in a coalition also named Georgian Dream won majorities in the 2012, 2016, and 2020 general elections. The party is currently led by Irakli Kobakhidze as Party Chairman and Irakli Garibashvili as Prime Minister.

History

The party evolved from the public movement Georgian Dream, launched by Ivanishvili as a platform for his political activities in December 2011. Since Ivanishvili was not a Georgian citizen at the moment of the party's inaugural session, the lawyer Manana Kobakhidze was elected as an interim, nominal chairman of the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia. The party also includes several notable Georgians such as the politician Sozar Subari, former diplomat Tedo Japaridze, chess grandmaster Zurab Azmaiparashvili, security commentator Irakli Sesiashvili, writer Guram Odisharia and famed footballer Kakha Kaladze.[11][12]

The party successfully challenged the ruling United National Movement (UNM) in the 2012 parliamentary election, pledging to increase welfare spending and pursue a more pragmatic foreign policy with Russia.[11][13] It won this election in coalition with six other opposition parties, with 54.97% of the vote, being allotted 85 seats in parliament.[10] The governing UNM took 40.34%. President Mikheil Saakashvili conceded that his party lost, and pledged to support the constitutional process of forming a new government.[14]

On 25 October 2012, Bidzina Ivanishvili was elected as the prime minister of Georgia. During this period, the State Universal Healthcare Program came into force (making emergency surgeries and childbirth free of charge), the reform of the system of self-governance was initiated and the project on saving agriculture was developed. In November 2013, Ivanishvili voluntarily stepped down as prime minister after just 13 months in office, saying that he was quitting the political arena.

In October 2013, Giorgi Margvelashvili, a member of the Georgian Dream party, won presidential election, gaining 61.12% of the vote.[15] He succeeded President Mikheil Saakashvili, who had served the maximum two terms since coming to power in the bloodless 2003 "Rose Revolution".

In April 2018 senior MP Gedevan Popkhadze threatened to quit the party for its endorsement of an opposition-nominated candidate, journalist Ninia Kakabadze to the supervisory board of the Georgian Public Broadcaster.[16] Popkhadze criticized Kakabadze for being anti-religious. The incident is seen as an internal conflict between long-time GD members which joined the party while it was in opposition and a new group of members who were installed in high positions prior to the 2016 parliamentary elections. The news agency Democracy and Freedom Watch related the incident to the return of Bidzina Ivanishvili as chairman of the party later that month, which furthermore was perceived as a move to maintain the unity of the coalition.[17]

In August 2018, Irakli Kobakhidze announced that the party would not nominate a candidate for the 2018 presidential elections. Instead it would support the independent candidate Salome Zourabichvili.

During the 2019 Georgian protests, the party was accused of being corrupt, covertly pro-Russian and subservient to Russian interests by a group of Georgian opposition parties who led the demonstrations.[18][19][20][21] In late 2019 Facebook publicly announced that it removed from Facebook and Instagram a number of accounts and pages engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior that sought to promote the Georgian Dream government.[22] Analysts said that although Georgian Dream suffered a dip in popularity in the aftermath of the 2019 protests, its relatively successful handling of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a boost in popularity, which helped it to secure victory in the 2020 parliamentary election. However, accusations of electoral fraud by the Georgian opposition subsequently led to the six-month political crisis in Georgia.[23]

On 11 January 2021, shortly after the election, Ivanishvili announced that he was decisively leaving politics and resigned as Chairman of Georgian Dream, stating that "he had accomplished his goal". Irakli Kobakhidze was elected as a new chairman of the party.[24]

In February 2021, the Georgian Dream underwent split following the Giorgi Gakharia's unexpected resignation from the post of Prime Minister of Georgia. Gakharia cited disagreement with his party colleagues over enforcing an arrest order for Nika Melia, who was sent to pre-trial detention by the Court after he declined to pay bail. Melia, chairman of the opposition United National Movement party, was accused of organizing mass violence during the anti-government protests in 2019. Although Gakharia agreed that Melia's prosecution was lawful, he wanted to postpone Melia's arrest to avoid further political tensions between the government and the opposition. Gakharia also said that he no longer agreed with the positions of the Georgian Dream and he therefore was leaving the party.[25] Several MPs from Georgian Dream joined him to form a new party For Georgia.[26] The Georgian Dream party supported Irakli Garibashvili to replace Gakharia, and the Parliament voted 89–2 to appoint him as the next prime minister. Garibashvili had an earlier term as prime minister in 2013–2015, and was considered to be a close ally of Bidzina Ivanishvili, which led to speculations whether Ivanishvili continued to influence politics behind the scenes.

Even though the government and the opposition worked to bring an end to the political crisis in April 2021, the tensions remained high. In tense 2021 Georgian local elections, the Georgian Dream managed to secure victory, gaining 46.75% of the vote. The mayoral candidates of the Georgian Dream won in all municipalities except Tsalenjikha. However, the party lost majority in seven out of 64 municipal assemblies.[27]

Ideology

Like many parties of power, Georgian Dream lacks a clear ideology. The reasons were given for this range from the party's history as an all-encompassing front of people opposed to the UNM government to the standard opportunism associated with such parties. Levan Lortkipanidze, a political science student at Tbilisi State University, described it as "a party of nomenclature, public servants, 'intelligentsia', medium and large businessmen, and technocrats – a party, which is held together through loyalty to its charismatic leader and the opposition to the government of the 'Rose Revolution.'"[28] In addition, it has been reported that left-wing activists view the party as "ideologically amorphous" in contrast to the party's own self-identification with the left itself.[29]

In 2017 the party's majority amended the constitution to define marriage as "a union between a woman and a man for the purpose of creating a family".[30] However, instead of citing conservative moral concerns, the party openly explained the amendment as a way to defang groups "stirring up homophobic and anti-Western sentiment."[31] During its first government, the party passed legislation against discrimination toward LGBT individuals, making Georgia the most LGBT-friendly country in the South Caucasus de jure.[32]

According to the Georgian Institute of Politics, Georgian Dream's economic policy comprises a combination of the pre-existing free market model, created by their predecessors, with a comprehensive "centre-left" safety net.[33]

Georgian Dream coalition

Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia was the leading member of the Georgian Dream Coalition, which initially included six political parties of diverse ideological orientations.[34][35] The coalition was made up of parties ranging from pro-market and pro-western liberals to nationalists and protectionists, united in their dislike of Saakashvili and the United National Movement.[36][37] The name of the alliance is inspired by a rap song by Ivanishvili's son Bera.[38][39]

Former constituent parties

Electoral performance

Parliamentary

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
2012[a] Bidzina Ivanishvili 1,184,612 54.97
85 / 150
new 1st Government
2016 Giorgi Kvirikashvili 857,394 48.65
115 / 150
Increase 30 Steady 1st Government
2020 Giorgi Gakharia 928,004 48.22
90 / 150
Decrease 25 Steady 1st Government

Presidential

Election year Candidate Results
# of overall votes % of overall vote
2013 Giorgi Margvelashvili 1,012,569 62.12 (#1)
2018 endorsed Salome Zourabichvili

Local

Election Votes % Seats +/– Position
2014 719 431 50.82
1,370 / 2,088
new 1st
2017 838 154 55.81
1,610 / 2,058
Increase 240 Steady 1st
2021 824 755 46.75
1,358 / 2,068
Decrease 252 Steady 1st

Presidents of Georgia from Georgian Dream

Name From To
Giorgi Margvelashvili 17 November 2013 16 December 2018

Prime Ministers of Georgia from Georgian Dream

Name From To
Bidzina Ivanishvili 25 October 2012 20 November 2013
Irakli Gharibashvili 20 November 2013 30 December 2015
Giorgi Kvirikashvili 30 December 2015 13 June 2018
Mamuka Bakhtadze 20 June 2018 2 September 2019
Giorgi Gakharia 8 September 2019 18 February 2021
Irakli Gharibashvili 22 February 2021 incumbent

Leadership

The party is led by the Chair, who is the leader of the party’s political council.

Party chairs

Notelist

  1. ^ As part of Georgian Dream coalition

References

  1. ^ Kakachia, Kornely (2017). The First 100 Days of The Georgian Dream Government: A Reality Check (PDF). Tbilisi, Georgia: Georgian Institute of Politics. GD's program combines market liberal economic policies with center-left social policies aimed at establishing a comprehensive safety net to support the country’s vulnerable population
  2. ^ "Georgia: political parties and the EU" (PDF). European Parliamentary Research Service.
  3. ^ Kakachia, Kornely (2017). The First 100 Days of The Georgian Dream Government: A Reality Check (PDF). Tbilisi, Georgia: Georgian Institute of Politics. One should not forget that, despite having a strong liberal wing, GD views itself as a center-left party and is an observer member of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in the European Parliament.
  4. ^ Phillip Oravec, Edward C. Holland: The Georgian Dream? Outcomes from the Summer of Protest, 2018, Demokratizatsiya The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization 27(2):249-256, 2019.
  5. ^ Zarina Burkadze: Georgia’s Illiberal Forces: Political Polarization against Democracy, The Journal of Illiberalism Studies 2(1):31-45, 2022.
  6. ^ "Georgia | Center for Strategic and International Studies".
  7. ^ "Georgian Dream Declares Victory in Parliamentary Elections".
  8. ^ ebanidze, Bidzina; Kakachia, Kornely (2017). "The First 100 Days of the Georgian Dream Government: A Reality Check" – via ResearchGate.
  9. ^ "Participants".
  10. ^ a b Stephen Jones (2015). "Preface to the Paperback Edition". Georgia: A Political History Since Independence. I.B.Tauris. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-78453-085-3.
  11. ^ a b Ivanishvili's Political Party Launched. Civil Georgia. 21 April 2012. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  12. ^ Shevchenko hangs up boots for politics[permanent dead link], AFP (28 July 2012)
  13. ^ Opposition Victory Signals New Direction For Georgia. National Public Radio. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 13 September 2022.
  14. ^ Barry, Ellen (2 October 2012). "Georgia's President Concedes Defeat in Parliamentary Election". The New York Times. Georgia (Georgian Republic). Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  15. ^ "Georgia PM ally Giorgi Margvelashvili 'wins presidency'". BBC News. 27 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Senior MP Ponders Quitting Georgian Dream". Civil.Ge. civil.ge. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  17. ^ DFWatch Staff (26 April 2018). "Ivanishvili to make political comeback, will head Georgia's ruling GD". Democracy and Freedom Watch. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  18. ^ Genin, Aaron (25 July 2019). "Georgian Protests: Tbilis's Two-Sided Conflict". The California Review. Archived from the original on 26 July 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  19. ^ "Economist's double life on the frontline of Georgia's street protests". Reuters. 23 July 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  20. ^ "Georgia: Ruling party promises reforms to calm unrest | DW | 25.06.2019". DW.COM. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Russia threatens more economic pain in standoff with Georgia". Reuters. 24 June 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.
  22. ^ "Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior from Georgia, Vietnam and the US". about.fb.com. 20 December 2019.
  23. ^ "Georgian opposition starts uniting ahead of fall elections | Eurasianet". eurasianet.org.
  24. ^ Balmforth, Andrew Osborn, Tom (11 January 2021). "Ex-Soviet Georgia's richest citizen, ruling party chief, quits politics". Reuters. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  25. ^ "Georgia prime minister resigns over opposition leader arrest plan". dw.com. 22 February 2021.
  26. ^ "Former PM Gakharia Inaugurates New Political Party". Civil.ge. 29 May 2021.
  27. ^ "Ruling party loses majority in 7 out of 64 Georgian municipalities". Agenda.ge. 1 November 2021.
  28. ^ Lortkipanidze, Levan. "Parliamentary Elections in Georgia". ge.boell.org. Heinrich Böll Foundation. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  29. ^ Pertaia, Luka (16 February 2017). "Are Georgia's disparate left-wing protesters consolidating into a coherent political force?". OC Media. Georgia (Georgian Republic).
  30. ^ Georgia's Ruling Party 'Supermajority' Passes Unilateral Constitutional Reform
  31. ^ "Georgian dream doubles down on same-sex marriage ban". Aravot. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 25 June 2017. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
  32. ^ Jalagania, Lika (2016). "Legal Situation of LGBTI Persons in Georgia" (PDF). Heinrich Boell Foundation. Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center.
  33. ^ "The First 100 Days of the Georgian Dream Government: A Reality Check". Georgian Institute of Politics. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
  34. ^ "Georgia's election: Pain and grief in Georgia", The Economist, 29 September 2012
  35. ^ de Waal, Thomas (11 September 2012), A Crucial Election in Georgia, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  36. ^ de Waal, Thomas (26 September 2012), "Georgia Holds Its Breath", Foreign Policy, archived from the original on 10 November 2013, retrieved 7 March 2017
  37. ^ Linderman, Laura (2013). Six Months of Georgian Dreams: The State of Play and Ways Forward (PDF). Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center. Irakli Alasania’s Our Georgia Free Democrats (OGFD) and the Republican Party, led by brothers David and Levan Berdzenishvili and the husband-and-wife team of Davit Usupashvili and Tina Khidasheli, are two prominent, liberal parties in the coalition with a strong, pro-Western foreign policy orientation. Other members include the nationalist Conservative Party, led by Zviad Dzidziguri, a loyalist of former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia; the National Forum (NF), which includes former high-ranking Shevardnadzeera bureaucrats; and the Industrialists. These parties are united in their dislike of Saakashvili and the UNM and have limited political prospects individually.
  38. ^ "Topic Galleries". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 7 December 2012.[permanent dead link]
  39. ^ "Georgia on Brink: Odd Parliamentary Election Leads To Angst Over Results". International Herald Tribune. October 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2012.