The messenger logo

Free Democrats will not support the UNM in the second round

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, October 19
A member of the Free Democrats (FD) opposition party, Shalva Shavgulidze, whose party failed to gain seats in the 150-member legislative body, says he cannot call upon FD voters to vote for the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party in the second round of elections.

Shavgulidze made his statement in response to the appeal of civil society representatives to vote for the UNM in order to prevent the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party from winning a majority in the future Parliament.

Shavgulidze shared the opinion that the constitutional majority in Parliament - meaning at least 100 MPs in the 150-seat Parliament - would provide substantial power for one party, and this would be “extremely dangerous”.

However, Shavgulidze added that the UNM, had also possessed a constitutional majority when in power and then engaged in a “range of violations”.

He said voters should decide for themselves for whom to vote for in the second round, which will take place on October 30 for 50 majoritarian MPs.

Out of the 50 majoritarian constituencies, the Georgian Dream and the UNM oppose one another in 44.

A member of the New Rights opposition, Mamuka Katsitadze, also said his party won’t appeal to their voters to support the UNM, as their voters “won’t believe this is a genuine step, as the New Rights have harshly criticized the UNM”.

The opposition parties Girchi and New Georgia, which were formed from ex-members of the UNM, also denied supporting the UNM.

New Georgia leader Giorgi Vashadze said “he couldn’t see any reason for supporting UNM” and stressed he believed the leaders of the UNM and the Georgian Dream agreed on certain issues.

Member of the UNM Otar Kakhidze said the voters should decide in the second round whether they wished for “an authoritarian regime in Georgia”.

Representative of the Georgian Dream Eka Beselia believes the reason of the civil society campaign “is to try and rescue the UNM,” and enable the party to “permanently trade with the ruling force for the GDDG to carry out major changes”.

Georgia has a mixed electoral system, wherein 77 lawmakers are elected through proportional, party list voting, while the remaining 73 in majoritarian elections.

In the first round, in the proportional race the GDDG received 44 seats, the UNM 27 and the Alliance of Patriots 6.

In the majoritarian race, the GDDG candidates won 23 seats in the legislative body, while in the remaining 50 constituencies the second round is scheduled on October 30, as none of the candidates managed to overcome the 50% threshold.

If the GDDG gains a constitutional majority, the party will be able to introduce changes in the country’s constitution, change the President’s election procedures, move Parliament from Kutaisi to Tbilisi and other major amendments.