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Ana Dabrundashvili

God’s Men in Georgian Presidential Race

99% of Georgians consider themselves religious. The country’s strong affection to the Orthodox Church in particular could not have possibly taken any other form but emerged in the new light in electoral programs of some Georgian presidential candidates.

Donation box, author: Vladimer Shioshvili, source: Flickr

Donation box, author: Vladimer Shioshvili, source: Flickr

I Want to be One and Only…

“I want to be one and only, and for children I will be the President,” – this is a slogan for the presidential campaign of Nikoloz Gorgijanidze, a self-acclaimed children’s writer, a teacher and a journalist.

Mr. Gorgijanidze promised to raise the monthly pension till 300 USD and set 200 USD monthly payment for housewives. He also promised to give 100-150 GEL (less than 100 USD) to the unemployed because “they are also humans and need money for their cigarettes.” Gorgijanidze said on a press conference that the unemployed will have documents saying they are “useless” and everyone will work to avoid this shame.

Mr. Gorgijanidze named Satan as his main competitor when he first came out in the news and kept on saying that on his next TV appearances. He swore to God that he would close down the center for burnt injuries in Tbilisi (the existence of which has never been problematic for a single Georgian) and instead give away the “cream of Turmanidze”, a kind of ancient Georgian popular medicine, for free.  The presidential candidate considers his place in the heaven to be guaranteed and hopes that Georgians will not confront him and follow him on the right path.

Trusting in the will of God

If Nikoloz Gorgijanidze’s   campaign is somewhat unsystematic, MIkheil-Gela Saluashvili, another presidential candidate who put God at the center of his campaign, is a different case. He developed a program titled “Shining Georgia with the Name of God”, according to which Orthodoxy will be a state religion and Georgia will become a theocracy. Mr. Saluashvili already submitted over 25,000 signatures of supporters to the Central Election Commission and is free to begin his fight for presidency.

MIkheil-Gela said the clue to Georgia’s territorial problems is the trust in the will of God and stated his program (all ten parts of which the interested individuals can see on his website – Ufali means God in Georgian) can have no competition.

Both MIkheil-Gela and Nikoloz Gorgijanidze have become Georgian Youtube and Facebook phenomenon. For those who still wonder whether this is a joke, no, this is serious.

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Ana is from Tbilisi, Georgia, where she currently works for the Caucasus Research Resource Centers. She has an MA in International Relations and BA in Journalism. Pursues writing in free time and is interested in literature.

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