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Political Consultations, Amsterdam, April 28. Source: Screengrab from Rustavi 2 TV

UNM, Seven Opposition Parties Agree to Join Forces for Presidential Polls

The United National Movement and seven non-parliamentary parties agreed to form a new opposition platform for the October presidential elections “to change the government,” and to put an end to “the oligarchic rule” in Georgia.

The announcement was made following the April 28-29 political consultations in Amsterdam with ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, who serves as the honorary chairman of the United National Movement party.

The platform members have agreed to field a joint presidential candidate for the polls, and to identify the nominee through primaries. The parties will also refrain from “attacking each other” in the pre-election period.

Besides the UNM party, the new platform unites the State for the People, the European Democrats, the Christian Conservative Party, the National Democratic Party, the Civil Alliance for Freedom, the New Georgia and the New Unity for Georgia.

The new platform remains open for other political parties, according to its members.

“The door is open for everyone. We should unite individuals of all ages, those serving the country’s interests, based on our, Christian-national values,” Mikheil Saakashvili said after the consultations on April 29.

The former President spoke on the European Georgia party as well, stressing everyone “should forget old offenses.” “I will only welcome, if European Georgia members join the new format in some way,” Saakashvili said, adding that he had no “personal ambitions,” and that his main goal was to “identify new leaders” in Georgian politics.

MP Otar Kakhidze of the European Georgia rejected Saakashvili’s offer on April 30, saying the proposal involved “contradictory messages.” “We have our own vision, which implies running in the presidential elections [independently],” he said.

Several party leaders have announced their intentions to run in the October presidential polls, including Shalva Natelashvili of the Labor Party, Nino Burjanadze of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, and Zurab Japaridze of the New Political Center – Girchi.

The ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party plans to nominate its presidential candidate by the end of summer, according to Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze. As for the incumbent President, Giorgi Margvelashvili has yet to make a decision on running for presidency.

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