Former members of the Christian Democratic Movement (CDM) Zaza Gabunia, Jaba Samushia and Kakha Brukishvili presented themselves as the leaders of a new political group called the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia on February 7th. Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia members hope that it will grow in number. Gabunia is the leader.
A new political party on the City Council: Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia
By Keti Arjevanidze
Friday, February 8
“I am taking a stand because the public demands it; I take this step because we want to correct the mistakes which Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava has made,” Gabunia explained.
The new party leader said their aim is to be the defenders of Tbilisi residents’ rights on the City Council and give people solid guarantees of social services.
Gabunia said it is important to move the United National Movement (UNM) to the role of opposition on the Tbilisi City Council. Currently the UNM currently have a majority on the City Council.
Jaba Samushia has been proposed as the City Council’s future chairman. Gabunia said Samushia has considerable experience working on the Council.
“The current political situation gives us the opportunity to stop the UNM’s incorrect activities in this city. This is a fight for Tbilisi residents to receive real self-government and have the city budget tailored for the people instead of in the interests of one particular party.” Samushia stated.
Zaza Gabunia and Jaba Samushia were members of the CDM for years, but after leaving the party, the CDM faction on the City Council dissolved.
UNM member Nikoloz Khachirashvili who is currently head of the City Council said that there is obvious pressure on the Council’s UNM members and he cited as proof his interrogation at the Chief Prosecutor’s Office.
“There is nothing strange that they called me in for questioning, I have said many times that there is pressure on UNM members. The door of the Prosecutor’s Office is always open for UNM members." Khachirashvili said with more than a hint of irony.
UNM members have suggested the recent spate of questionings by the Prosecutor's Office is a sign that Georgian Dream is planning to dissolve the current City Council. UNM member Besarion Bendeliani thinks that there is currently “an unbridled campaign” of psychological pressure directed against the UNM. Bendeliani is confident that breaking up UNM control of the City Council will not be achieved.
Khachirashvili was questioned over the activities of Tbilservice group, which is accused of misspending money in City Hall. Tbilisi Mayor and UNM member Gigi Ugulava has already been questioned about several matters but has yet to be charged with any wrongdoing.