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Members quit political bloc led by opera star

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, September 29
Three former members of the opposition United National Movement ( UNM), which ran the country in 2003-2012, quit the political bloc Paata Burchuladze-State for People, as they said the famous opera star Burchuladze was “blackmailing them” as he needed money.

Members of the Girchi Party, composed of three ex-UNM members Zurab Japaridze, Pavle Kublashvili and Goga Khachidze, created a block with Burchuladze’s State for People prior to the upcoming, October 8 Parliamentary Elections, with the non-parliamentary opposition New Rights and the New Georgia party.

New Georgia was also established by ex-UNM member Giorgi Vashadze.

Japaridze stated on September 28 that Burchuladze was blackmailing him and asking for money.

Japaridze said Burchuladze needed the money for himself.

He stressed that Burchuladze earned 60,000 GEL a month from this bloc. This income was steady and came despite the bloc’s financial situation being "very hard”.

In response, Burchuladze stated he himself “dismissed” Girchi from the bloc, as he received evidence that the party was financed by Georgia’s ex-Prime Minister, the founder of the current ruling Georgian Dream (GD), Bidzina Ivansihvili.

“I didn’t want to be affiliated with either Ivanishvili’s or Saakashvili’s (Georgia’s ex-President ) money, “ Burchuladze said.

Kublashvili responded to Burchuladze and called him a “liar”, and dismissed the statement as if Girchi was financed by Ivanishvili.

Member of the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party Nukri Kantaria said he “felt sorry for Bucrhuladze”, as he has lost the trust and respect of the people which he gained over many years.

Kantaria stressed it was impossible for Ivanishvili to finance Girchi.

Leaders of the GDDG had claimed Burchuladze and the UNM “were playing one game” and had teamed up against the ruling party.

In his previous statement, Ivanishvili said Burchuladze asked for a huge amount of money in 2012 in exchange for gathering political forces to stand against the UNM.

Ivanishvili said he turned down the monetary request and defeated the nine-year rule of the UNM without Burchuladze’s help.