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Prospects of the local elections

By Messenger Staff
Friday, January 31
Local government elections should be held in late May or early June. The date is approaching quickly and the various activities among the political parties can be noticed.

Analysts say there is the possibility of an emerging third political force not affiliated with the Georgian Dream administration or the United National Movement (UNM). However, there is no viable political group in Georgia that can compete with either of these two political groups.

Before the parliamentary elections in October 2012, Bidzina Ivanishvili announced that all the political opponents of the UNM should unite. However, in reality this “third force” did not have a chance to establish itself as a separate power.

Today the situation is as such: there is visible room for the third force. However, no third force is seen so far. It is a strange situation, as there are multiple parties and political figures, but neither of them can attract enough supporters to establish itself as a solid entity, which could unite people.

The demand for the third force is mainly based on the fact that the rating of the Georgian Dream coalition is slowly decreasing. There is an opinion that if the parliamentary elections were held today neither of these two main parliamentary parties would receive the same amount of support as they did in 2012. This is exactly where the third political power could find its niche.

The presidential elections of 2013 also did not reveal the existence of a third political force in the country, as neither of the candidates managed to collect enough votes.

Analysts sometimes mention that the former parliamentary chair Nino Burjanadze and her party could eventually represent the third political force. However, Burjanadze has been labeled as a person with pro-Russian orientation and this does not serve her well.

After the presidential election Giorgi Margvelashvili won with more than 70% of the vote. He was followed by the UNM’s Davit Bakradze with over 20%, and Burjanadze finished a distant third with around 10%.

However, since then, her activities have faded and she has very small chances if as suggested she would run for Tbilisi Mayor.

As for the parties once represented in the parliament like the Christian Democrats and the New Rights, their chances have become smaller since the Georgian Dream started its activities. It is known that Ivanishvili from the very beginning announced them as satellite parties of the UNM thus discredited them

Analysts believe that the only factor that can unite the different parties is the battle for the Tbilisi Mayor’s position. Just before his resignation, Ivanishvili nominated the current minister of Infrastructure Davit Narmania as the candidate of the coalition for the Tbilisi Mayor’s position.

Narmania is not that popular among the voters although his performance as the minister of infrastructure is very impressive. Moreover, he is supported by Bidzina Ivanishvili.

However, Narmania could be opposed by someone with a good reputation and popularity, but this will become possible if the entire non-parliamentary opposition unites and select one strong candidate. Only in this case will they have a chance to win.

The former Defence Minister Irakli Okruashvili or the presidential candidate in 2008 elections – Levan Gachechiladze are both names that have been thrown around as possible candidates. . However, there is much skepticism towards Okruashvili, who held a high position during the UNM government before he was dismissed by then President Mikheil Saakashvili.

As for the UNM, their candidate for Tbilisi mayor will presumably be the former Mayor Gigi Ugulava. However, he has been charged with several violations and there is a chance that he may even be detained. In this case, the UNM’s presidential candidate Davit Bakradze could run for this position.

There is one another factor, which could be considered while speculating about the third political force. This is foreign policy orientation. The Georgian Dream, as well as the UNM is distinctly pro-western, but room has appeared for a candidate with a pro-Russian orientation. Although in reality, this could become damaging to anyone trying to run for office under such a platform.