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Coalition removes its candidate in Marneuli

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, June 16
The Georgian Dream coalition has removed its candidate in the Marneuli region.

According to the statement released by the coalition, the main aim of the step was to avoid ethnic confrontation there.

The coalition states that the United National Movement has tried to make the situation tense in the region.

Merab Topchishvili was the coalition’s candidate in Marneuli, which has a high number Azeri origin population. Several days ago, a local election body removed the UNM candidate for the governor’s post. The main reason was that according to the legislation the candidate has to live in Georgia for the last two years. The Central Election Commission supported the local body’s decision. However, a court allowed Imamkulyev to take part in the elections. The situation over Imamkuliyev caused several clashes in the region.

From the beginning, Topchishvili said that he would participate anyway. However, in the end he obeyed his team’s appeal.

"I respect and agree the decisions of the Georgian Dream coalition. My supporters and I and will continue to fight to the end for the coalition’s victory,” Topchishvili stated.

Commenting on the issue, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated that the coalition’s step was wise and dictated by the state interest.

He stressed that the government would not allow the UNM to create unrest there. He suggested that the UNM launched a “very dangerous game” in the region.

“This fact indicates that the Georgian Dream creates a strong political culture in Georgia. No one can tell us at least one example when the government withdrew its candidate when his victory was inevitable - in fact we are the only political force and our candidates are absolutely correctly selected,” the PM said.

The United National Movement candidate in governor’s post in Marneuli, Ahmed Imamkulyiev eliminates the threat of ethnic confrontation and believes that he will win the elections.

“The decision of the Georgian Dream coalition to remove the candidate does not concern us, it's up to them, no one should speculate on ethnic issues, because there are no signs of confrontation in Marneuli,” he said. United National Movement member Nugzar Tsiklauri stressed that the coalition was afraid of the high rating Imamkuliyev enjoyed in the region and that is why the party made such a decision. Moreover, he accused the Georgian Dream coalition in mentioning the ethnic factor in its statement.