Israeli strategists help sway Georgian upset election win

Salome Zorabashvili, an independent candidate supported by the Georgian Dream ruling party, barely reached the second round of voting.

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November 28, 2018 22:00
1 minute read.
The Israeli strategists who helped win the Georgian election, (l-r) Sefi Shaked and Moshe Klughaft

The Israeli strategists who helped win the Georgian election, (l-r) Sefi Shaked and Moshe Klughaft. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Two Israeli strategists helped the first woman get elected president of the former Soviet republic of Georgia in her come-from-behind victory in Wednesday’s run-off race.

Salome Zurabishvili, an independent candidate supported by the Georgian Dream ruling party, barely reached the second round of voting. A month ago, following the first round of voting, the polls showed her well behind right-wing candidate Grigol Vashadze, who won the first round.

Sefi Shaked and Moshe Klughaft helped her overcome serious negative momentum by successfully changing her campaign.

“We changed the agenda to show the achievements of the government and the party,” Klughaft told The Jerusalem Post from Zurabishvili’s victory party. We overcame chauvinist attacks on her and antisemitic attacks on me. I taught the party leaders to say “L’hayim” in Hebrew at the victory party.”

Shaked and Klughaft’s campaign linked Vashadze to violence, corruption and the silencing of senior party members. The change in campaign direction led to Vashadze plunging in the polls and to the strengthening of Klughaft and Shaked’s candidate.

Klughaft said the change led to former Georgian resident Mikheil Sakashvili complaining in an interview with Georgian television that Zurabishvili had a “Jewish adviser” alongside what Klughaft called other antisemitic statements. Klughaft required personal security during his last week in the country and was defined as a “protected citizen” by the government.

Sakashvili has vigorously denied that he said anything antisemitic and accused Klughaft of a smear campaign against him.

Zurabishvili had previously been Georgia’s foreign minister as well as the French ambassador to Georgia.

Shaked and Klughaft also won an election for social democrats against the Right two years ago in Romania.



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