Georgian Dream seeks a fourth consecutive victory in the parliamentary ballot, but Ivanishvili said his latest comeback did not aim principally to strengthen the party going into the election. Instead, he said, he wanted to protect the party’s leadership from possible corruption and internal rifts.
Key election for Georgia’s EU bid
Georgia became an EU membership candidate country in November 2023, with the Commission setting nine benchmarks the country must meet in order to join, including holding free, fair and competitive elections.
Even as it pursues the country’s EU membership, however, the Georgian Dream government has been criticized for its authoritarian tendencies, and even for appeasing Russian President Vladimir Putin. Last year it tried to enact a Putin-style law that would have required all organizations that receive more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad to register as foreign agents; the bill was dropped after mass protests.
Opposition parties claim that Ivanishvili is actually holding Georgia back on its path to EU membership.
“What is clear is that the Russian-made oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili is reshuffling his pack to tighten his grip on power as elections approach,” said MP Tina Bokuchava from the opposition United National Movement party.
After the new prime ministerial candidate is announced, the Georgian parliament will have two weeks to approve a new government.