The messenger logo

In parliamentary elections, it’s 3 against 8 against one

By Eter Tsotniashvili
Thursday, April 10
Three election blocs and nine individual parties are set to run in May’s parliamentary elections, alliances becoming clear yesterday as parties registered their formations with the Central Election Commission.

With voters deeply polarized following the disputed January presidential election, the match-up is in essence the ruling party versus a handful of viable opponents and a slew of marginal parties.

The largest bloc consists of the opposition coalition called the National Council, which this week announced an alliance with the historically moderate New Rights, bringing its ranks up to nine parties.

Running as the United Opposition-National Council-New Rights, the coalition had invited the Republicans and the Labor Party to rejoin the bloc; both parties were once members. Both declined the offer.

“We are not going to dance with them around a table,” Labor member Giorgi Gugava told journalists on April 8, in reference to an episode on a TV talk show the previous night, where coalition members joined hands as their party anthem played, sidestepping in an awkward circle around a table in the studio.

Leading the coalition’s party list are two former presidential candidates: independent MP Levan Gachechiladze, the coalition’s candidate in the January presidential election, and New Rights leader Davit Gamkrelidze.

Gachechiladze took just over a quarter of the vote in the January 5 snap poll; Gamkrelidze won four percent.

The second bloc, the Rightist Alliance, is made up of the Industrialists, the National Democratic Party and Unity.

“Georgia’s integration into NATO, a Western orientation and good relations with Russia are our priorities,” said National Democratic Party leader Bachuki Kardava on April 8.

According to Jumber Patiashvili, leader of Unity, the bloc will also promote local industrialization and increased Georgian exports.

The Industrialists were previously allied with the New Rights, but the two parted ways when the New Rights joined opposition hunger strikes in March.

The party, significantly stronger than its two new allies, is led by Gogi Topadze, owner of the Kazbegi beer company.

A third bloc unites the Traditionalists, Our Georgia and the Women’s Party.

Our Georgia is led by Gocha Jojua, an MP and former campaign chief for the presidential bid of late billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili. MP Guguli Maghradze left the ruling party to form her Women’s Party in March.

“For Georgian women it is necessary to maintain our traditions,” Maghradze says.

Akaki Asatiani founded his Traditionalists party in 1989; its influence has since ebbed.

In addition to the three blocs, nine parties filed to compete independently: the ruling National Movement, now branded as the United National Movement for a Victorious Georgia; the Labor Party; the Republican Party; the Christian Democratic Party, led by former Imedi TV anchor Giorgi Targamadze; the Christian Democratic Alliance; Our Country; the National Movement of Radical-Democrats of Georgia; Georgian Politics; and the Georgian Athlete’s Union.

Some sixty parties originally applied to compete in the elections. The Central Election Commission publishes the final list of parties on April 21.

The parliamentary elections are slated for May 21, with 150 MPs to be elected.