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Dzidziguri to stand for Mayor

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, April 12
On April 9 the National Council's common candidates for the Tbilisi Mayor and City Council elections, identified through an opinion poll, were officially nominated. The National Council's election campaign also began on that day was a presentation on how it would change the system of government in Georgia.

Zviad Dzidziguri is to be the Mayoral candidate of the National Council (consisting of the Conservatives, People’s Party, Movement for Fair Georgia, Christian Georgia, Party of the Future and Patriot's Party) and Koba Davitashvili its nominee for City Council Chair, i.e. the head of its municipal election list. The opinion poll gave the public a choice of two candidates, Dzidziguri and Davitashvili. The poll, conducted on April 6-8 in Tbilisi with a sample of 15,000 voters, showed that Dzidziguri was the favoured Mayoral candidate of 51.9 % of voters and Davitashvili of 48.1.

If Dzidziguri and Davitashvili win the elections they will create a coalition government, they said. "If the National Council wins this will be a great victory for the whole opposition,” Dzidziguri said. Davitashvili said that the coalition running City Hall would be open for all real opposition parties. "We will invite all active, real opposition parties to join the coalition whether they took part in the elections or not or share the National Council’s opinions or not. Authoritarian regimes should be defeated in Georgia and our country should be a Parliamentary republic,” Davitashvili stated. The official election manifesto will be officially presented by the candidates in the next few days and will concentrate on economic and social issues. "Economic relations with all countries should be restored and for this reason improving relations with Russia is significant. We will work on returning the bank deposits of Georgian citizens lost in previous years and the development of better economic and social conditions for Georgian people,” Zurab Noghaideli, leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia, said.

Other parties have commented on the candidates and their proposals. "I welcome the idea of a coalition government as this is the best way of doing things. Although this idea has come from the National Council it should be taken into account if we win the elections, no matter which opposition group comes to power,” Gogi Topadze, the leader of Industry Will Save Georgia, said. "I welcome Dzidziguri’s nomination for Mayor, but all opposition candidates are in the same situation at the present moment, while the Government is using all its resources to gain the support of the citizens,” Nika Ivanishvili, leader of Public Democracy and another opposition Mayoral candidate, said.

The Alliance for Georgia believes that its leader Irakli Alasania has a greater chance of winning the Mayoral election than any other opposition leader. "I respect Zviad Dzidziguri very much and think he is playing an important role in contemporary politics, but I think he will not be a real opponent for Alasania in these elections,” Zurab Abashidze from the Alliance said.

Analyst Gia Khukhashvili, commenting on the opposition's electoral chances, told the Messenger, "the present situation is not good for the opposition, and this is reflected in both opinion polls and their election campaigns. However opposition have a chance for several reasons; firstly, the present Government has no authority in the eyes of Georgian citizens, secondly, ratings are very changeable, especially when the greatest enemy of the Government is the Government itself. Just think of the fake Imedi programme, or Vano Merabishvili’s interview, after such things the chances of the Government have fallen. The most acceptable opposition candidate is Irakli Alasania. I respect Zviad Dzidziguri very much as a patriot and wish him success, but in some other role,” Khukhashvili said.