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Ex-Mayor believes UNM mayoral candidate is not strong player

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, June 26
Former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava believes that the mayoral candidate of the opposition United National Movement (UNM) party, Zaal Udumashvili, is “not a strong player”.

Ugulava, who himself is a former member of the UNM, believes that the strongest candidate is Elene Khoshtaria, a mayoral candidate of the parliamentary minority Movement for Freedom-European Georgia, consisting of the former members of the UNM, including Ugulava.

The ex-mayor believes that the main competitor of Khoshtaria will be the candidate of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party.

“In my opinion, Elene is the best candidate among the present candidates today…she has experience, sincerity, knowledge and personal honesty,” Ugulava told Palitranews.

As for UNM candidate Zaal Udumashvili, who is a former TV anchor of Georgia’s opposition-minded Rustavi 2 TV channel, Ugulava says he does not have “the right temperament” to carry out an election campaign.

Ugulava believes Udumashvili is a good journalist but will be unlikely to prove a good politician.

“Usually people love journalists but this love creates illusions. As soon as you move into politics, there are other rules of the game and there is a lot of disappointment…Udumashvili will not be competitor for our candidate,” Ugulava stated.

The ruling GD party has not officially named their Tbilisi mayoral candidate yet. However, it will likely be Kakha Kaladze, the second Vice-Premier and Energy Minister, who left his post on Saturday, allegedly in order to run in the mayoral race.

Georgia’s Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze, stated earlier this month that no opposition candidate can win the Mayoral elections in Tbilisi this autumn.

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