Davit Usupashvili, 2017. Photo: Facebook/David Usupashvili Official
Davit Usupashvili, Parliamentary Chairman in 2012-2016 and the former leader of the Republican Party, announced creation of a new centrist political movement to contest the upcoming municipal elections in October, 2017. He says the new team aims to win the 2020 general elections.
Speaking at a press conference on June 16, Davit Usupashvili said the new outfit would be titled "The Development Movement", and aim at the building and development of the state institutions.
In the words of Usupashvili, his team plans to actively contest the 2017 local elections, and would only take the final institutional shape by spring 2018. He said the new movement would aim to win the 2020 elections to the Parliament.
The former Parliamentary Chairman spoke on his teammates as well, saying the movement will recruit the political newcomers “who will move the country forward,” but at the same time will also unite “those who have served the country selflessly and honestly.”
Former members of Usupashvili’s previous partisan home - the Republican Party - Vakhtang Khmaladze and Tengiz Shergelashvili, as well as the members of the National Forum - Revaz Shavishvili and Kakha Shartava - have joined the new movement.
The Development Movement
The Movement, as outlined in its founding principles, considers that “socio-political relations, built on hostility and antagonism have prevented” the country “from channeling the shared national potential into forming the state institutions dedicated to promoting freedom, security and welfare for all people.”
According to the document, almost three decades after the restoration of Georgia’s independence, the country “exerts control over a small part of the national sovereignty, while the growing international instability generates an urgent need for taking better care of our country.”
The new movement is against portrayal of liberty and patriotism as “contradictory concepts,” saying these two fundamental values “should serve as the foundation of any nation-state.”
The new political movement pledges to not “divide the society along the ideological or personal lines,” but ti represent “a centrist, unifying force, which will assemble rational and effective approaches” from the different sides of the political spectrum.
“Georgia needs a new political movement, which will be using novel approaches, encouraging new generations, new thinking, and [encouraging] successful professionals...to enter politics...to contribute to our common homeland,” the document also reads.
Davit Usupashvili’s Bio
Davit Usupashvili, led the Republican Party in 2005-2013 and served as the parliamentary chairman in 2012-2016 as one of the leaders of the Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia (GDDG) coalition.
The Republican Party split off from GDDG and ran independently for 2016 Parliamentary Elections. It perfomed dismally, finishing with just 1.55 percent of nationwide votes.
Usupashvili has subseqnetnly quit the party soon after the election citing "political, value-based, and tactical" disagreements within the party leadership regarding the political future of the Republican Party. Speaking at his special briefing on October 29, 2016 Usupashvili pledged to remain "very active in the opposition political field."
A recent public opinion poll conducted by the Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization for the International Republican Institute (IRI) put Davit Usupashvili’s personal favorability rating at 48% trailing behind President Giorgi Margvelashvili (67%), Healthcare Minister Davit Sergeenko (65%), Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili (55%) and European Georgia party leader Davit Bakradze (50%).
Most political analysts in Georgia are skeptical of the new movementsâ€™ ability to emerge as a potent political force.