Attempt to forget Donald Trump for a second, and cast your mind on another political newcomer hoping to shake things up — after a 40-year singing career, opera singer Paata Burchuladze has quit the stage and is running to be Georgia’s next prime minister.
Best known for his tone (once described as “razor-edge incisiveness” by The Washington Post) and performances at some of the world’s most famous venues, rather than his political prowess, Burchuladze ended his musical career in May this year and formed the State for People political party. The party will challenge the incumbent Georgian Dream coalition government in the country’s October 2016 parliamentary elections.
Burchuladze’s decision to move into politics came after the singer’s Georgian Development Foundation, which he created in an attempt to advise the coalition government, faced resistance to the recommendations it made.
Pro-EU and pro-Nato, Burchuladze has pledged to “clean up politics” and create 250,000 new jobs in the private sector.
But what are his chances?
Before State for People was even registered as a political party, Burchuladze’s Georgian Development Foundation was already polling as the third most popular political force in the country, close behind Georgian Dream and the centre-right opposition United National Movement. What is more, the survey by the International Republican Institute conducted from March – April 2016 also found Burchuladze to be Georgia’s most popular politician, with a 75 per cent favourability rating.
Whether Burchuladze will take centre stage in Georgian politics, only time will tell.
Source: The Washington Post