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Oligarch buys bright future for Sakartvelo10.10.2011 | 13:58
Billionaire, philanthropist and newly-born rival of Mikhail Saakashvili in the struggle for the premiership Bidzina Ivanishvili announced today his political program. He has very clearly described what he would like to achieve and what he is going to fight with. GeorgiaTimes' correspondent asked Georgian political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze to comment on the businessman's intention to go into power.
Bidzina Ivanishvili's appearence at the political horizon of Georgia was sudden and he immediately attracted attention of politicians, political scientists, experts and opposition figures - in general, anyone who cares about Sakartvelo's fortune after fateful 2012-2013 when parliamentary and presidential elections will be held. Billionaire's impulse gets very different estimates. And Ivanishvili, as promised, published his political program in the press. Of course, it describes businessman's intentions only in a first approximation, but it is quite possible to understand where Ivanishvili strives to and what he's going to fight with.
It turned out that the businessman intends to become prime minister or speaker of Parliament and "completely eradicate corruption of Georgian elite which includes members of current government of Saakashvili".
"Total monopolization of power by Mikhail Saakashvili and the adoption of constitutional changes, which show obvious desire of Saakashvili to retain power, despite the expiration of the constitutional terms, determined my decision to establish a political party and to participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2012 - said in a published statement. - Saakashvili can not understand - the force and lies, with which he rules the country, only aggravates the plight of Georgia. Any sensible politician at his place would have long since resigned and would ask for forgiveness from his people".
Businessman considers the merger of "healthy opposition forces" as his chief task. "For some time, about two or three years, I want to personally coordinate the following political developments - merger of our party with healthy opposition forces to get the vast majority of votes in the upcoming parliamentary elections in 2012, together with the people to find out optimal model for construction of Georgian state, to implement constitutional changes", said in a statement.
As for the political prospects of the country, Ivanishvili, in defiance to current authorities, declared the importance of normalizing relations with Moscow. "We need to begin building relationships with Russia to deepen friendship and integration with the U.S. and the EU", said businessman, however, adding that he doesn't want to confuse his potential voters and he would give up his triple citizenship by 2012. "In order to the society would not have questions in this context, I declare that till the parliamentary elections in 2012, I will sell all of my business in Russia. For the same reason I refuse from dual citizenship in the coming days and I give up the Russian and French citizenship, leaving only the Georgian citizenship", explained Ivanishvili.
And then he threw down the gauntlet to Mikhail Saakashvili, whom he accused of establishment of pseudo-democratic regime in Georgia, when supposedly there is freedom of speech and the opposition, but in reality everything is controlled from the top. Ivanishvili expressed the desire to buy any TV channel which has a license to broadcast news programs. "If an owner of such a TV channel has a real interest in my proposal, I offer to pay him three times the amount, provided that the assessment of the real cost of a TV channel will be carried out by one of the five auditing companies recommended by the World Bank", he said, promising that after two years when the election race will be finished he will return the channel to the current owner for a nominal sum of one lari.
Ivanishvili has shown particular interest to two channels - Maestro and Caucasia, which are considered independent. "Today these TV channels are not loaded at 50 percent during the day. If my suggestion to the owners of these TV channels would not find respond, their purpose will become clear", said businessman. In case of failure, he believes, it will be proved that they are engaged in "promotion of pseudo-opposition politicians and parties and criticism of the real opposition in the desired time and from the desired point of view".
It should be noted that the Maestro has refused to cooperate with the pushy billionaire. Director and co-founder of the channel Mamuka Glonti said that the controlling stake is not for sale. "There is no price for which we would sell the Maestro while Mikhail Saakashvili is the President", said Glonti. And the director of the Caucasia David Akubardiya said that he will comment Ivanishvili's offer during live broadcast of the evening debates.