MP Mamuka Chikovani quit the opposition European Georgia party, reducing the political party’s parliamentary representation to 19 lawmakers.
Chikovani made the announcement on October 2. The lawmaker did not elaborate on his future political plans, but according to media reports, he intends to join the coalition led by ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM).
Speaking to reporters, Chikovani said the country “stands on a very dangerous verge,” and that individual opposition parties “do not have a luxury of testing their forces and measuring their electoral support [in the upcoming elections].”
“Now is the time for making concessions and taking steps to unity. We will be able to reach the goal of bringing major [political] change only through unity,” the lawmaker stressed, adding that he hoped the decision would “inspire” his teammates to follow suit.
UNM’s Davit Kirkitadze welcomed the decision as “timely and correct.”
“When the country is in such a dire state, when people are so impoverished and when thugs have taken over the country, there is no time for political flirtation, there is no time for measuring the party support, it is time to pull the country out of their hands … we need to unite to defeat them and unite around the candidate who has a chance of winning,” he added.
Irakli Kiknavelidze of the European Georgia slammed Mamuka Chikovani’s decision, saying he put his “personal discontent before professional cause,” and that recently their party has come under “joint attack” of the Georgian Dream and the UNM. “Neither of these parties are interested in the country’s future; they are interested in party battles [only],” he noted.
He also said the EG ranks are frequently filled with former UNM members, but they try not to “propagate” the information as they consider it to be harmful for the opposition as a whole.
UNM has six lawmakers in the Parliament of Georgia, while EG has 20 lawmakers and enjoys the minority status.