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Introductory Speeches of Mayoral Candidates of Tbilisi on Imedi TV Debates

Translated by Vladimer Napetvaridze
Tuesday, October 17
Six Mayoral Candidates of Tbilisi took part in the public debates broadcasted by Imedi TV on October 10.

An independent candidate Aleko Elisashvili, Elene Khoshtaria from European Georgia, Kakha Kukava from Democratic Movement – Free Georgia, Zaliko Udumashvili from United National Movement, Irma Inashvili from Alliance of Patriots of Georgia and Giorgi Vashadze from Unity New Georgia presented their visions.

Debates started with a one-minute introductory speech of each candidate.

The Messenger presents introductory speeches of mayoral candidates as broadcasted live by Imedi TV.

Independent Mayoral candidate Aleko Elisashvili:

"Thank you for the invitation and thank you for organizing these debates. I think that it is awkward that citizens were not able to listen to each of us until today. It is very important, because not only spreading banners around the whole city matters, but also it is necessary that candidates themselves explained their electorate their vision about reforms to be made, their views about what was bad, what should be done and how to improve life in this city, because, during 15 years and especially last five years, living in this city has gradually become impossible. At first, I had an impression that the Georgian Dream realized city problems, at least according to David Narmania’s election campaign; it seemed that they had realized it, but turns out that they made the situation much worse in every direction of the city life. It could be the issue of public transport or creation of green spaces. Besides this, Tbilisi City Hall is corrupt and no ways could be seen to fix itat this moment. "

Mayoral candidate of European Georgia, Elene Khoshtaria:

"At first, I want to say that it is very good that after political coquetry and some kind of strange demands, Georgian Dream mayoral candidate, agreed to this public debates. It was important because one of the biggest challenges in our city life and in our political life is to make Kakha Kaladze answer questions that have been accumulated during many years. We have listened how Kaladze speaks from a perspective of opposition that he will come and change something, that's how he is trying to avoid his responsibilities of those abominations that have been happening for years including an incident that happened today, which cannot be forgotten because it is the classic case of a problem we are having today. And this problem is completely an obedient City Assembly, which is responsible to Bidzina Ivanishvili and not the people. The City Assembly which is hiding behind the police cordon and breaking the rules, for 1 GEL registered the land belonging to us to oligarchs and they forbade the parliament members enter the building. Mr. Kaladze will be forced to answer our questions. And also we want to offer people a way out of this situation, which was very specifically set by European Georgia and personally by me."

Mayoral Candidate from Democratic Movement –Free Georgia Kakha Kukava:

“The days, which are left until the election day are very important. Unfortunately, we see the same scenario as it was during the 2016 parliamentary elections when artificial polarization was made, showing that there were presented only two main forces-UNM and Georgian Dream. It was continuation of that famous concept which was offered by UNM and Georgian Dream in 2012. And the result of this concept we have seen in 2012, 2013, 2014 and in 2016. Therefore, I want our electorate to take into consideration that UNM and Georgian Dream are two factions of one big liberal party. Both of them are children of the party-The Union of Citizens of Georgia, and today confrontation is not between UNM and Georgian Dream, but between the government, which has been ruling continuously and national forces, whose best representative, in my opinion, are we- Democratic Movement-Free Georgia."

UNM Mayoral CandidateZaal Udumashvili:

“Thank you for the invitation. I want to spend my time on speaking about events, which happened today in front of Tbilisi Assembly building. Because I think that what happened, a crime which happened today is biggerthan my pre-election campaign or politics itself. Today the majority of obedient members of Tbilisi City Assembly legalized Bidzina Ivanishvili’s personal parking space on Pushkin Square and private vegetable garden on Mtagori mountain. And this happened with the full obedience of 30 people, without asking any questions what they voted for and at the cost of what? At the expense of that, members of the meeting being ruthlessly beaten. The building of City Assembly was transformed into the police isolator, where members of the demonstration were physically assaulted, and only after that, our teammates were taken to the police. It was like a locked booth, where no one was allowed to enter. Despite this, they made an unlawful decision. I want to add one thing: when the government does not respect the law, then people will take control over it."

Alliance of Patriots of Georgia Irma Inashvili:

"This process and participation in Tbilisi mayoral elections, this is another stage of political struggle. Once again I have to say loudly, that election held after 2012 are far away from ideal. There are many facts about using governmental and administrative resources. I want to mention one more time, that government adjusted the constitution on themselves and their party. The election Code is entirely usurped and the whole electoral system is in the hands of one party. Under these circumstances, I would say that this is an unequal battle for any of the candidates, who are participating in this process, but we are going to break this process and break this government and not let them use the constitution and electoral system as they want. "

Unity New Georgia’s Mayoral Candidate Giorgi Vashadze:

"Today's main problem in our country is: unemployment, hardship, social problems, and the most important is that we do not see how the modern world develops. Today you are either successful, either [you are]among developed countries, you are among leaders or you are constantly in need and a miserable condition. It is like a bewitched circle we are in now. That's why we offer you the Georgian model of success. We need to be innovative, we must be different, we need to create a new paradigm of development to create jobs, attract investments, and most importantly, bring the happiness for each family and for our country that we need so much. Hence, we offer a different plan and program. My colleagues are competing with each other in the populism, who will offer more lies, but we offer you to create global smart hub, air hub, city of knowledge, city of social solidarity, projects that will bring success to every citizen of Georgia, to use the prospects that the Fourth Industrial Revolution gives us. Only then we'll be successful. Let's create a Georgian model of success."

Georgian Dream Mayoral Candidate Kakha Kaladze:

"At first, I would like to make a statement about the debate. As every TV channel wanted to broadcast our debates, my proposal for all candidates was to organize a joint public debate because all of us have an intense timetable, meetings with the population. I don't know if they are meeting with people, but I have lots of meetings every day, and considering this fact, we wanted to create a joint platform, it could be TV Imedi, or Public Broadcaster, or completely other independent spot, where representatives of all TV Channels could have been invited and they could ask questions to each of us. As for me, I've been doing my job for many years I am doing it now and I am going to do it in the future. We have a specific plan, we know the existing problems. We have the concrete vision with specific projects. We know what to do for the next 4 years, what the challenges are and what concerns Tbilisi and residents of Tbilisi."