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People quit opposition Free Democrats party

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, October 14
Five top figures of the opposition Free Democrats (FD) party have announced they have quit the party, without specifying their future field of activities.

Key figures of the Free Democrats - Zurab Abashidze, David Onoprishvili, Irakli Chikovani, Viktor Dolidze and Gia Tsagareishvili – announced their decision after the party's chairman, ex-Defence Minister Irakli Alasania and fellow party member and ex-Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Alex Petriashvili, left the Free Democrats four days ago.

In their own statements, neither Alasania nor Petriashvili specified their future plans.

The executive Secretary of the FD party claims Alasania remains party leader and he “just temporarily” left politics.

The party members said they would continue fighting in Georgian politics and will be prepared for the country’s 2017 local-self-Governances elections.

All the statements about the resignations came after the party failure to overcome the 5% threshold in the October 8 Parliamentary Elections.

The preliminary results from Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) read that the FD party received 4.61% of the votes in proportional voting and a had a chance to gain just a single seat in Parliament, as one of the party candidates would participate in the second round of majoritarian voting in the western Chiatura region.

In his speech, Zurab Abashidze thanked those who voted for the party and said that he believes the FD’s future entry into Parliament would be positive for Georgian democracy.

“We are opening the way to new people in the party who, with their enthusiasm and motivation, will advance and develop the party,” Abashidze said.

Viktor Dolidze stressed that the elections had expressed the “will of the Georgian people”

“It was a free decision made by free voters and we should respect the voters’ choices,” Dolidze said.

Dolidze added that over the following two months, he will continue his activities as the head of Georgia’s delegation in the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly and would continue to fight to prove the innocence of the Cable Case convicts.

Onoprishvili and Tsagareishvili highlighted that they had always potected Georgia's interests and would continue their activities in service of Georgia.

The Free Democrats was part of the Georgian Dream coalition founded by ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivansihvili prior to 2012 Parliamentary Elections, but the party quit the coalition in 2014 when Alasania was dismissed as Defence Minister. The party participated separately in this year’s Parliamentary Elections.

Alasania established the FD party in 2009.