2016: The Year of the Red Monkey


According to the Chinese calendar, 2016 will be the year of the red monkey. Astrologers warn us that lies, scandal and conflict are the active characteristics of this zodiac, therefore this year we should be more careful than we were in the past years of the snake and the dragon. In short, and at a glance, it seems as though there is nothing good ahead of us, however, astrologer’s warnings alone can’t do much, unless we lie to ourselves in autumn. This year there are parliamentary elections, remember? And elections without lies, scandals and conflicts, as they say, do not exist, just like a Georgian Supra without a toast.

This year is indeed decisive for political parties. Parliamentary elections will be held in autumn. Some will try to retain authority, others to regain it; the goals of some will probably be more modest and these be satisfied by a couple of parliamentary mandates. It depends on the resources and fantasies they have. During previous elections Georgian Dream (GD) truly made wonders, otherwise who would imagine that ballads about free money, cheap loans and halved tariffs would work to such extent that even the National Movement, being noticed for spreading “lies,” would be surprised? After the elections, the UNM government started to cry “Ivanishvili and the Dream lies to people”, but of course by then it was too late.

Voters brought the GD coalition to power but where these voters went after 4 years is proven by the December polls of NDI in which 35% of voters have not yet decided which political union they will vote for. This means that they do not trust the Government anymore. Indeed, the ruling coalition Georgian Dream isn’t so well off, though that it still leads the rating by 16%, a decrease compared to previous polls, is still obvious. This does not in any way imply that GD will need to think of new lies for autumn in order to improve the situation, however, if the government continues losing its electorate at this rate, it can be surely said that not a single lie will be able to help them out, regardless of who is thinking them up.

As founder of GD, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, says, he is going to get involved in the pre-election campaign with ‘all his resources.’ “I will, of course, take part in everything and will interfere very actively. I declare once again that I will help my team with all my resources, so that it can convince society that it is still irreplaceable today and that it should be the leader. Those ways, outlined after we came; those values that we have established, still need to be deepened and strengthened. Therefore, I am interested in being mobilized, together with society, to the maximum and to take relevant decisions,” Ivanishvili declared. Which resources the billionaire plans to use, intellectual or financial, has not yet been specified. It is likely that he will use both as a support to the coalition, as both are needed during elections. Therefore it cannot be ruled out that in autumn we will witness a new series of “free money and free loans.”

By the way, if we look at the history of lies of the government, President Shevardnadze’s pre-election promise, in 1995 about 1 million jobs, keeps the leading position. Georgian Dream’s promise about free money cannot even get close to that one, not to say anything about the promises from the National Movement’s time: “There’s a lot more to be done” or “Deeds instead of words.” As for the National Movement, according to the same NDI poll, its rating has statistically risen from 7%-10%. Like a poet once wrote, the National Movement caws like a black raven behind Georgian Dream’s Merani, which, on their side is followed by the Free Democrats of ex-defense minister Irakli Alasania. But the main thing is to be able to tell truth from lies in this year’s elections, so that in the next four years we will not blame the worsening of our country, or our own lives, on the government again. Otherwise, we will have to live with the idea that we are so used to lies that we can’t even imagine living without them. And the year of the red monkey will have nothing to do with it.

Zaza Jgarkava

06 January 2016 20:27