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Calls for united opposition for local elections

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, August 8
The Movement for Building Opposition, created by Georgia’s former Parliament Speaker David Usupashvili, has named ex-Deputy Infrastructure Minister Tengiz Shergelashvili as its mayoral candidate in Tbilisi.

Shergelashvili, who is a former member of the Republican Party, was actively involved in the local governments’ reform initiated by the Georgian Dream government in 2013-2014.

“I have 20 years of experience in the local government, and I can offer a concrete plan to the residents of Tbilisi how to get the city healthy and comfortable to live in,” Shergelashvili told the audience at nomination of his candidacy.

Shergelashvili, together with Usupashvili and several others, quit the Republican Party shortly after the 2016 Parliamentary Elections, in which the Republican Party failed to overcome the mandatory 5 percent threshold.

The reason the leading figures of the party left was because of a controversy over the party’s future.

Meanwhile, four opposition parties have called on the pro-western opposition, civil organizations and active members of society to present joint candidates for the upcoming local elections as this “would increase the opposition’s chances” to defeat the candidates of the Georgian Dream ruling party.

The new opposition unity of New Georgia, New Unity Georgia, European Democrats and Civil Alliance-Freedom initiated a primary election between the opposition nominees for mayoral and City Council positions before the local elections take place at the end of October.

They claim the local elections are a chance for the opposition parties to replace the "informal rule” of the country by Georgia’s ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Leading opposition parties have already named their candidates for the post of Tbilisi Mayor, which is the most important post of the upcoming elections.

Elene Khoshtaria from European Georgia and Zaal Udumashvili from the United National Movement will contest the role.

A strong candidate is Tbilisi City Council’s independent MP Aleko Elisashvili, who will fight for the post alone, without affiliation with any political party.

In critical moments, Georgia’s opposition nearly always fails to be unanimous, which increases the chances of the ruling team’s candidates.

It is unlikely that the most influential opposition parties will unite for the upcoming elections, as there is nothing to suggest they will be able to forget their own, narrow political interests.