UNM leader thinks Merabishvili would change his mind
By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, January 24One of the leaders of the United National Movement opposition party, which has recently split into two, claims the imprisoned leader of the party, ex-Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili, will not follow the path of ex-Mayor Gigi Ugulava and will stay in the UNM.
Nika Melia, who was elected as the head of the UNM political council several days ago, plans to meet Merabishvili in prison.
"I am sure Vano Merabishvili will behave totally differently from Gigi Ugulava [ex- Mayor of Tbilisi]. Ugulava left prison not as a member of the National Movement. He left prison as a member of another opposition party.
“I personally believe that Vano Merabishvili stands at an absolutely different level and his decision will be absolutely different. However, of course, everything will be known after my meeting with him," said Melia, who announced the meeting this week.
Shortly after leaving prison earlier this month, Ugulava and about 60 members of the UNM, the main opposition party which ran Georgia in 2003-2012, left the party and united within another party, European Georgia.
The controversy within the UNM was mainly about the party leadership, with one group saying the ex-President, Mikheil Saakashvili, must be the party leader, while another group sided with Ugulava and others in opposing the notion.
The UNM party congress on January 20, which elected Melia as the party political council head, also stated Merabishvili remains the General Secretary of the party.
However, Merabishvili wrote on his Facebook page that he did not give his consent in remaining on the position.
Merabishvili was detained in May 2013 and was soon charged with faking documents, misspending budgetary funds and vote-buying. He was also charged with exceeding official power in connection with three different notorious cases. However, he denied all charges, saying they were politically motivated.
From the former key figures of the UNM, only several were and still are in prison, Merabishvili among them.
It is very possible Merabishvili will indeed take the same path as Ugulava did, as he has a reason to be angry about Saakashvili, who left the country as soon as his presidential term expired in 2013, and then received the citizenship of another country and to become involved in Ukraine’s politics.