The messenger logo

Alasania to join the search for a common candidate

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, February 23
The Alliance for Georgia sees a threat from the Government’s involvement in the elections, and we should try to find the relevant political way to deal with this, Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats, part of the Alliance, told the media on February 22.

“The fight we are all facing will be full of obstacles but we will overcome them. I have taken a decision to participate in agreeing on one joint opposition candidate for Tbilisi Mayor. My decision will serve as the first step towards agreement on the candidate as all the parties will now present their candidates at the primary election.

"My decision will enable the members of the Alliance to act in an independent way in the process of defining the joint candidate. My party has its own model for holding primary elections which will prevent any interference. We have to agree on a joint candidate, not simply a political alliance to oppose the Government candidate,” Alasania said.

“I doubt that the parties who are not participating in the election have more chance to succeed than we have, but we have to prove that we can make real changes by conducting wise political debates. Now I am the candidate of Our Georgia-Free Democrats. I’m not going to renounce my candidacy, but I will conduct my campaign only with the money of my party. Any other sources are absolutely unacceptable for me," Alasania said.

"I will defeat Levan Gachechiladze at this election if he presents his candidacy. The opposition voters are confident in us. We need the total support of our voters and I am sure we will be successful,” Alasania added.

Giorgi Tsagareishvili, an opposition MP, said that Alasania has chosen the best way. “Parties and leaders who aim to win choose unity, but those who just aim to participate in the elections will fail. Alasania has chosen a formula for success which will lead to the country’s prosperity. There will come a time when all parties unite on an ideological basis, but now the existence of our country is under threat. All the people want is for us to fight against Mikheil Saakashvili’s regime as one. What the Government wants now is to split people, so the opposition will deal a serious blow to the Government by achieving unity,” Tsagareishvili told the media.

The Public Hall, an independent debating forum, fully agrees that the unity of the opposition is necessary and likewise welcomes Alasania's move. Davit Magradze, the Chairman of the Public Hall, called this day historic, saying that the opposition’s joint candidate will be identified by negotiations and this person will be supported by society as the only means of resolving the current problems in the country.

On the same day Levan Gachechiladze, leader of the Defend Georgia public movement, made a statement about his possible candidacy, which has been discussed for some time by opposition representatives. Irakli Alasania’s initiative is a real step for victory, Levan Gachechiladze told the media who had been outside his office since early morning expecting a statement. “I will be actively involved in the process of defining the joint opposition candidate. I will negotiate with the political parties to secure an agreement on whether this candidate will be defined by primary election or public consultation. I suppose that great bravery and compromises will be required to carry the third wave of protests in Tbilisi to victory,” he stated.

Mamuka Areshidze, political analyst, has told The Messenger that: “The only way for the opposition to succeed is through a fair election. One can be achieved by compiling the voters’ lists correctly and ensuring the transparency of the whole democratic process, as so much demanded by the international community. But if the election is transparent two or three joint candidates may have more chance against Gigi Ugalava, the current Mayor of Tbilisi, than a unique opposition candidate. It will definitely be difficult for Georgians to gather around one person just to prevent further disagreements. In all other circumstances neither Levan Gachechiladze nor Irakli Alasania, or any other candidate, will have a chance against Gigi Ugulava in the Tbilisi Mayoral elections.”