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Khachirihsvili leaves UNM, new chair announced for City Council

By Keti Arjevanidze
Thursday, February 21
Nikoloz Khachirasvili chairman of the United National Movement (UNM) faction of Tbilisi City Council left the faction and the UNM team on February 19th. Khachirashvili said he has left the UNM, but will remain an independent deputy at City Council. He said he and the UNM did not share opinions over some issues, thus he decided to move on.

“I worked with this team for a long time, there are many good people working there. We shared opinions in past but now we do not,” explained Khachirashili.

Khachirashvili denied any pressure from the ruling team that forced him make such a decision. However, his former teammate Davit Darchiashvili is confident that it is exactly the political pressure that forced Khachirashvili to make such a decision. According to Darchiashvili Khachirashvili was repeatedly interrogated by the Prosecutor's Office. The UNM member thinks this is the reason why his team member came to the decision to change his political views.

However, Khachirishvili said there is a moment when you have some important decisions to maintain a dignified name. He admitted that he will cooperate with UNM, as well as the Georgian Dream in making better decisions for Tbilisi residents.

Jaba Samushia Deputy Chairman of City Council’s Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia faction welcomed Khachirishvili’s step. He said their fraction will collaborate with all the MPs, who offer a real self-government and who want to returnself-confidence to Tbilisi residents.

On February 20th, new chairman of UNM fraction in City Council was elected. Koki Ionatamishvili will replace Khachirashvili. Zaal Samadashvili, Tbilisi City Council Head read the voting results and revealed the names of UNM fraction deputy chairmen: Vakhtang Tsagareishvili and Sevdia Ugrekhelidze.

Samadashvili added that after 9 years being in the government UNM was assigned to a special mission. He said “a standard” will be established for opposition parties on how the political forces should cooperate in order to maintain fundamental values, which the Georgian population has voted for.

Ionatamishvli also commented over the issue. He said the pressure placed on UNM members has grown into political prosecution. However, he avoided commenting on his predecessor’s decision.

Ionatamishvili stressed that their main concern still remains the same and the UNM will continue solving the problems of Tbilisi residents. He further added that there are new initiatives for improving the activities of civil service.

Khachirashvili occupied the post of the UNM faction chairman from 2010. Currently, there are 28 UNM members on the city council.