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Alasania ‘temporarily’ quits politics

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, October 11
Georgia’s ex-Minister of Defence and leader of the Free Democrats opposition party, Irakli Alasania, has stated that after the October 8 parliamentary elections he made a decision to “temporarily” leave politics.

Alasania also removed his candidacy from the eastern Gori majoritarian candidate, where a second round of elections should have taken place between him and a ruling party nominee, as in the first round none of the candidates managed to overcome the 50% threshold.

At a special briefing yesterday, Alasania did not specify where he intended to continue his future activities, but stressed his party “would launch a renovation and be well-prepared for 2017's local-government elections”.

Alasania stressed that the Free Democrats Party, which received 5.61% of votes according to the latest preliminary figures from Georgia’s election administration and failed to overcome the necessary 5% threshold to gain seats in Parliament, needed to find out the reasons for its failure.

The former Defence Minister connected the removal of his candidacy in Gori to the failure of his party in the Parliamentary Elections.

“I want to heartily thank each of our voters and every citizen for their support, especially the people of Gori. However, I will not participate in the second round of elections, as my promises given to the Gori population were related to my team’s activities in Parliament,” Alasania said.

Prior to Alasania’s statement, one of main figures of his party, Georgia’s ex-Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alex Petriashvili, also announced that he was quitting the party.

“I don’t belong to any party now and will continue my activities in service of Georgia’s interests in some other field,” Petriashvili said.

Irakli Alasania, 43, a former soldier and diplomat, served as the Minister of Defence from 2012 to 2014 under the current Government of Georgia, until he was fired by ex-Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in November 2014 for his statements about Georgia changing its foreign policy direction.

He also was Georgia’ Ambassador to the United Nations from September 11 2006, until December 4 2008 under the previous United National Movement Government. However, due to a controversy with ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration, he withdrew into the opposition and founded the Free Democrats party in July 2009.

The Free Democrats were part of the Georgian Dream coalition founded by ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivansihvili prior to 2012 Parliamentary Elections to defeat the nine-year rule of the United National Movement.

The party quit the coalition in 2014, as soon as Alasania was dismissed as the Defence Minister and ran separately in this year’s parliamentary elections.