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UNM splits into 7 factions at Tbilisi Sakrebulo

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, July 30
Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo) with its new leadership discussed “total changes” in the capital city’s administration system and the formation of a multi-party ruling situation. The new chair of Sakrebulo, Irakli Shikhiashvili, is ready for “collaboration with the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office and shifting personal disagreements aside.” Speculation over the impeachment of Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava has been postponed. However, certain changes in this regard are being planned. Meanwhile UNM members are trying their best to have importance in the body.

16 of UNM members quit the party since last year’s parliamentary elections. Zaal Samadashvili, a UNM member and Chairman of Sakrebulo, was voted out on July 26, less than a month after the UNM lost its majority in the capital city’s Sakrebulo.

Later on the same day when Samadashvili was voted out, a former UNM and current Georgian Dream member, Shikhiashvili, was elected by most of the non-UNM members of the Sakrebulo as the new chairman of the Tbilisi City Council.

One of the Georgian Dream council members, Guliko Zumbadze, who is a member of the Republican Party, refused to support Shikhiashvili – a position not shared by the other 24 council members, who now form the new majority in the Sakrebulo. Zumbadze claims that Shikhiashvili’s candidacy was not discussed inside the coalition representation and the new chair of Sakrebulo “was long ago selected for the position by the Interior Ministry of Georgia.”

Shikhiashvili denies Zumbadze’s claims, admitting that everything was done transparently and the new reality at the Sakrebulo will be a “precondition for various parties and the presence of independent council members in the body.”

Like Zumbadze, the UNM is not satisfied with current situation and the UNM faction, with its 22 representatives found an outcome to preserve some power there. According to the decision of the UNM, the faction of the United National Movement would be divided into 7 factions.

New majority at Sakrebulo links the UNM decision to some other reason.

“Their aim is to preserve comfort. In case there are 7 factions more money will be spent on them,” coalition representative Jaba Samushia said.

On his term, the new chair of the Sakrebulo, suggested the positions of deputy commission chairs to the UNM representatives instead creation of seven factions. However, the UNM did not change its position.

Based on the recent situation mayor’s post is “untouchable”. According to the head of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, Kakha Kozhoridze, the issue should be regulated.

“If it is possible to set impeachment of the President and some other high-ranking officials why it should be impossible towards the Tbilisi mayor? Parliament should elaborate changes regarding the issue and the rule should come into force after 2014 self-governments’ elections not to be doubts that the rule was adopted against one concrete individual,” Kozhoridze stated.