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“Everyone but the voters” against Burchuladze's bloc

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, October 3
Famous Georgian opera singer Paata Burchuladze, who now leads a political block Paata Burchuladze-State for People, claims everyone but Georgian voters are against his political coalition ahead of October 8 Parliamentary Elections.

However, Burchuladze, whose bloc has recently been left by one of the member parties, stresses that the “voters’ support and not any political rivalry” will decide who will win.

A total of 16 majoritarian candidates have quit Burchuladze's coalition, as the Girchi party left the bloc several days ago.

The 16 majoritarian candidates earlier named in the coalition’s party list belonged to Girchi, according to Zurab Japaridze, one of the leaders of Girchi.

Japaridze also said he was offered to stay in the coalition and be in the bloc’s list “if he brought money” instead, but, as he said, he refused the deal.

Paata Burchuladze-State for People was established ahead of the October 8 Parliamentary Elections and initially united four parties:

State for People – established by Burchuladze;

Girchi – a political party created by ex-members of United National Movement (UNM-which ran Georgia in 2003-2012);

New Georgia – a party founded by ex-UNM member Giorgi Vashadze, and;

New Rights – a non-Parliamentary opposition group.

On September 27, Girchi said Burchuladze was demanding money from the party for his “personal use.”

Girchi said Burchuladze was demanding “millions”, despite the fact that he had a monthly salary of 60,000 GEL.

Meanwhile, Burchuladze claimed he “dismissed” Girchi from the coalition, as the party was financed by Georgia’s ex-Prime Minister, billionaire and founder of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili.

There were speculations that New Georgia could also quit the coalition, but the party's leader, Giorgi Vashadze, announced the day after Girchi quit the bloc that his party intended to stay with Burchuladze.

He stressed that now the bloc “is absolutely independent from outside influences”.

Ivanishvili said Burchuladze’s statements were “ridiculous” and he didn’t intend to “seriously” respond to them.

Some political analysts suggest that what Paata Burchuladze did and stated was a “tragi-comedy” and that the man had caused “significant disappointment” amongst Georgian voters.

In response to the situation, expert Khatuna Lagazidze, who quit Paata Burchuladze’s bloc several weeks ago, asked: “If Girchi really brought the money Burchuladze was demanding, how was Burchuladze going to launder them?”

Lagazidze claims Burchuladze was allied with the previous ruling UNM party, which was the reason for her to leave the coalition, while Burchuladze says Lagazidze did not appear in the bloc’s party list, which prompted her to quit.