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No opposition candidate will win Tbilisi Mayor’s race

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, June 9
Georgia’s Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze, is sure that no opposition candidate can win the Mayoral elections in Tbilisi this autumn.

He says that “based on the current reality”, only the representative of the ruling team will be able to become Tbilisi's Mayor.

“If our candidate is Kakhi Kaladze [current energy minister], we will win the race in the first round of elections,” Kobakhidze said.

The Parliament Speaker made the statement in response to the announcement that Rustavi 2 private broadcaster anchor Zaal Udumashvili had been offered by the United National Movement opposition to participate in the Mayoral elections as their candidate.

Udumashvili says he has not yet decided whether to accept the offer.

Udumashvili represents Rustavi 2 private broadcaster, one of the most influential TV channels in Georgia which is permanently described as “biased for the opposition, especially for the United National Movement”, by the ruling Georgian Dream team.

The channel is now in the ownership dispute in the European Court of Human Rights.

The TV station's leadership, Udumashvili among them, claim that the current authorities want to close the channel as it “always speaks the truth”.

Meanwhile, the Republicans and Free Democrats non-parliamentary opposition parties are in active consultations over their joint candidate for the race.

Tbilisi City Council’s independent MP Aleko Elisashvili confirmed meetings with the parties’ representatives. However, he said he preferred to be an independent candidate in the race rather than be affiliated with any political party.

The European Georgia parliamentary opposition party, meanwhile, has already named Elene Khoshtaria as its candidate.