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Subari stands down for the sake of unity

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, April 30

On April 29 the Alliance for Georgia presented its 64-member candidate list for the forthcoming elections without specifying which one would be Chair of City Council if elected. Sozar Subari, who the Alliance had previously said would fill this position, has been removed from the list following internal consultations. Members of the Alliance, consisting of the New Rights, Our Georgia – Free Democrats and Republican parties, said this was a gesture to other opposition parties and if the Alliance wins the Mayoral elections [on May 30] they will offer the post of Chair of the City Council to someone from the next most popular opposition group.

“My offer [to the other opposition groups] is still on the table and I still maintain that mutual agreement is the formula for victory. It is important that the opposition win the elections by defeating the United National Movement (UNM). I am still fighting [against the UNM] and I'll go anywhere I'm needed. The opposition’s victory has always been my goal, not being Chair of the City Council,” Subari said. “The Alliance has made the first step. It was common knowledge that I was never interested in snatching the position of Chairman and now I have withdrawn my candidacy voluntarily because I think there is still time for agreement,” Subari concluded.

Tina Khidasheli, leader of the Republican Party, Davit Saganelidze from the New Rights and Zurab Abashidze from Our Georgia – Free Democrats head the 64-member list. “We have decided to leave the post of Chair of the City Council vacant in order to achieve agreements with other opposition repretentatives. The whole posse (referring to the Alliance candidates) presented today is joining the struggle as one fist, motivated to defeat the unfairness in the country by addressing a variety of the problems around us,” Irakli Alasania, leader of the Allance for Georgia, said, stressing that the consolidation of Georgian society is the key to victory.

Tina Khidasheli said that the decision made by the Alliance will come into force if Alasania wins the Mayoral elections. “We have openly stated our concerns to the opposition so that we can continue our cooperation within the framework of solidarity,” she added. Negotiations with other parties on who should be the City Council Chair haven’t started yet but the Alliance is ready to discuss particular individuals and form a coalition government as soon as the results of the elections are clear. “I am very sorry that Sozar has renounced his candidacy, but he has done everything he can to create unity,” Davit Saganelidze said. Pikria Chikhradze from the New Rights said that this step was proof that the Alliance for Georgia fulfills every promise with honour without making any bargains.

Oposition parties have commented on the Alliance's step. Leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) Giorgi Targamadze approved of the decision, calling it a prospect for opposition union, although he said it may have a negative impact on potential opposition voters. “I was surprised by Subari’s decision. The opposition should be strong before the elections and therefore the CDM is against prominent people leaving the party lists,” Targamadze said, stressing however that solid ground is therefore being prepared for appointing the first female Chair of the City Council (referring to CDM candidate Inga Grigolia).

“Sozar is a loyal Georgian with a pure past. I fully welcome his decision, which may be an important path to opposition unity and establishing a wise strategical plan,” Gogi Topadze, leader of Industry Will Save Georgia, stated. However Levan Gachechiladze, leader of Defend Georgia, disapproved of Subari’s decision, saying the opposition won’t have a chance after dismembering itself in this way. Kakha Kukava, leader of the Conservative Party said it’s up to each party how to choose the members of its list.

The Messenger asked Ramaz Sakvarelidze, political analyst, for his opinion. “Being in politics doesn’t at all mean being in a particular senior position. Sozar Subari is a very valuable figure in the Georgian political environment but he may have made the best choice by withdrawing his candidacy. As for opposition consolidation, I would say that politics is always affected by the “weather”. Let’s wait and see the results of the elections and then see whether or not the different opposition parties can do a deal,” Sakvarelidze said.

The deadline for nominating candidates for the upcoming local elections expires on April 30. According to information released by Juli Giorgadze, Head of the CEC Press Centre, 16 political parties and 3 political blocs have presented their lists of candidates so far. “The deadline for the nomination of Mayor candidates is April 30, but the CEC needs time to discussing the applications and officially register them,” Giorgadze explained to The Messenger. Zviad Dzidziguri from the National Council, Davit Iakobidze from the Georgian Democratic Party, Gigi Ugulava from the United National Movement, Nika Ivanishvili from the Public Democrats and Giorgi Lagidze from Future Georgia have already registered their candidacies while Giorgi Chanturia from the CDM and Irakli Alasania from the Alliance for Georgia applied to the CEC on April 29 and their applications were being discussed. The other two prospective candidates previously announced, Gogi Topadze from Industry Will Save Georgia and Tamaz Vashadze from the Solidarity Party still had a few hours in which to be nominated by the time of going to press.