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Ex-Mayor does not intend to retake his old post.

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, January 19
Ex-Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, who was recently released from prison and openly opposed the wishes of the country’s ex-President, his former ally Mikheil Saakashvili, claims he does not intend to participate in the local elections for Tbilisi Mayor’s post.

Ugulava, whose release from prison ended the ongoing dispute in the main opposition United National Movement and split the party, says not fighting for a return to his old post is one of the main differences between him and his team and Saakashvili and his supporters.

Ugulava says Saakashvili’s motivation, who is now in Ukraine with no Georgian citizenship and remains wanted for several charges in Georgia, is a return to Georgia, whereas his own goal is to “meet the interests of the Georgian people.”

In his most recent comments and interviews, Ugulava once again criticized Saakashvili and stated “no one is unchanged.”

Speaking about current economic situations and his vision, Ugulava stated there was no need for Georgia to have its national currency, the lari, any longer.

He stressed it would be better for the country’s economy and for attracting foreign investments for Georgia to have the US dollar as its currency rather than the lari.

Georgia’s largest opposition party, which ran Georgia in 2003-2012, officially split into two on January 12.

The decision was made after an inter-party confrontation over the January 20 party congress.

UNM members also had a disagreement over electing a new leader of the party, which divided the party into two groups.

As Saakashvili is now a Ukrainian citizen and he cannot be the Chair of the UNM officially, the pro-Saakashvili wing of the party insisted that he remain the informal leader of the party.

The second wing of the party, 59 people in total, who were for electing a new chair, left the UNM and moved to another party, European Georgia, a party re-registered in the Central Election Commission two months before the 2016 October Parliamentary Elections and which created an election bloc with the United National Movement.

Saakashvili claims he didn’t know about the European Georgian party . He also stated that the party’s coming into action was beforehand intended by some former UNM members if they failed to deprive Saakashvili of the UNM leadership.