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Turning down primaries

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, August 8
The European Georgia opposition party, which is composed of former members of the United National Movement and several new faces, has turned down the offer of some opposition parties to hold a primary election between the opposition candidates to reveal the strongest, joint candidates for the upcoming local elections.

The statement came after the offer of four opposition parties several days ago over selecting a joint mayoral and City Council candidates to “boost the opposition’s chances” in October’s race.

Non-parliamentary opposition representatives from the New Georgia, New Unity Georgia, European Democrats and Civil Alliance-Freedom parties claimed that the separation of the opposition platform would only benefit the Georgian Dream ruling party’s candidates.

Gigi Ugulava, one of the leaders of European Georgia and a former Mayor of Tbilisi himself, stated that the revelation of a mayoral candidate through a primary is a “futile effort” and offered an alternative proposal to the opposition.

Ugulava stated that the stronger opposition candidates should take part in the elections, which would result in a higher chance for the government’s candidate not to receive the mandatory 50% of votes to win.

"Tbilisi’s mayoral election has a 50% threshold, so it is not needed to invent a new bike, so to speak. The first round is a primary, in essence. The stronger opposition candidates should take part in the elections, which means that there is more chance that the government’s candidate will not get 50%. But I believe they will use force, money and administrative resources to try and win in the first round,” Ugulava stated.

He underscored that the first round is a test to reveal a competitive candidate from the opposition.

“Therefore, our initiative is that we should agree to support anyone who moves to the second round. The primaries will prove to be a futile effort for most and therefore, we are not going to participate in it," Ugulava said.