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United National Movement: Looking forward not backward

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, August 14
The United National Movement named its majoritarian candidates for Tbilisi on August 13. The candidates were represented by the Parliament Speaker of Georgia, Davit Bakradze and Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava.

The candidates are: Vake-Giorgi Karbelashvili, Mtatsminda-Archil Gegenava, Krtsanisi-Davit Sakvarelidze, Gldani-Nikoloz Khachirishvili, Nadzaladevi-Merab Samadashvili, Chughureti-Andro Alavidze, Isani-Giorgi Vashadze,Samgori-Mikheil Machavariani,Saburtalo-Andria Urushadze, Didube-Giorgi Chachanidze.

Bakradze is sure that all the candidates will achieve success. The parliament speaker underscored that the team is made up of “successful and competent” people who are aware of Tbilisi’s problems.

“Tbilisi is a united organism and should be developed through common and sensible action. On the other hand, Tbilisi consists of certain districts that have specific but varying needs. We represent the people within the united team who care about the future advancement of the capital,” Bakradze said.

Bakradze also emphasized that there are no unfamiliar faces in the named team. According to him, some of those candidates have been working in the parliament as the representatives of specific districts and the rest have significant experience working with the executive body and their names are connected with those reforms which have already positively affected people.

Tbilisi Mayor, Ugulava went further. After naming the team the “excellent ten” the mayor emphasized that Georgians have no desire to go back to the past, moreover Georgians do not “dream” of past days.

“Our credo is not to let the past days return, do not let anyone destroy what has been built and to promote more profit to the people. This is the answer to the question: why support the National Movement?” Ugulava said.

The Georgian Dream immediately responded by stating that the Georgian Dream’s majoritarian candidates have no opponents. “I am sure that the Georgian Dream will win in all 10 districts of Tbilisi as they will in the regions,” spokesperson for Georgian Dream, Maia Panjikidze stated.

As analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili states, much would be dependent on the election environment during the pre-election period. “As for the majoritarian issue, we are the captives of the reality when political leaders have too much influence on people. Accordingly, the voters pay more attention to political leaders rather than the action plans of the leaders’ political parties,” Tsiskarishvili stated.

Kakha Kakhishvili, Head of the Elections and Political Technologies Research Centre, named the reasons why the National Movement chose those figures as majoritarian candidates. Kakhishvili stated that almost all of them are old faces of the National Movement. Thus after coming to parliament, UNM will not be afraid that those people might change their political taste. “The second is that almost all the candidates are residents of those districts where they are represented and almost all of them have worked on such posts in the district municipalities or social services, having positive interactions with the people. Of course all those factors increase their chances,” Kakhishvili said.

He has also admitted that the National Movement candidates’ chances are high especially when there is no healthy election environment in the country, when legislation is passed by one political force (National Movement) and when oppositional political subjects still do not agree on common majoritarian candidates.

As for the mayor of Tbilisi’s statement that the National Movement would not allow the past to return, Kakhishvili explained that political leaders should refrain from making such statements; as such decision should be made by the people. “The government should create the situation of making a free choice in the country– all the rest is dependent on the people. It is possible that for someone returning back to the National Movement is to be taken as turning back to the past, or to the Soviet period. Thus, attitudes and tastes are different and political figures have no right to decide what is correct or incorrect for people,” Kakhishvili told The Messenger.