Ivanishvili announced he is leaving politics again
Ruling Georgian Dream party chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili stated in a lengthy January 11 letter that he quits the party chairmanship, the party itself and politics “for good.” Billionaire leader claimed he had achieved everything he wanted to.
“I believe that my mission is accomplished, so I’ve decided to step out of politics for good and fully give up the reins of power,” the billionaire said in a 17-page letter, citing his age as another reason for the departure. “I’m leaving the party itself, and I’m going back to the private life that I had before 2011,” he added.
“I made the decision to leave the party permanently and completely retire from running it. I am leaving both the post of party chair and the party itself and will return to normal life, as it was before 2011“, he wrote. Ivanishvili also stressed that there was currently no alternative to Georgian Dream, citing the party’s unprecedented third term in power following October’s parliamentary elections.
Some opposition representatives speculated that billionaire left politics amid pandemic and severe economic crisis to avoid blame if the situation worsens even more. “Isn’t it a paradox for the leader of a “winning” party to quit politics a month or two after the victory?” asked Anna Natsvlishvili, spokesperson for an opposition party Lelo. Salome Samadashvili, a United National Movement (UNM) member, agrees. “Ivanishvili decided to distance himself from the situation we have in the country. We have a major economic and social crisis ahead of us and, obviously, this team [Georgian Dream] will not be able to handle it,” she said.
As Eurasianet reminds in its article, some experts believe that Ivanishvili simply wants to unburden himself of the formalities associated with his position as party chairman. “We saw his second coming, and now we are witnessing his second leaving,” political commentator Gia Khukhashvili told Mtavari Arkhi TV. “We need to wait and see how it plays out. For now, it is a bit hard to believe as left in charge is a prime minister who was not even allowed to pick his own cabinet.”
Ivanishvili announced his first departure from politics in 2013, just a year after being elected prime minister. However, critics continued to insist he maintained control over the ruling party from behind the scenes. Five years later in 2018 Ivanishvili took over as chair of the ruling Georgian Dream party. He said that time; his motivation was “the well-being and a worthy future of the Georgian people”.