Giorgi Chigvaria, Mayor of Kutaisi, the country’s second largest city, has announced about his decision to resign and quit politics.
In his Facebook post published on April 8, Chigvaria noted that “a lot of important projects” were implemented in Kutaisi under his tenure. “Many of them have not been suspended even in this difficult situation,” he added.
Giorgi Chirgvaia will be replaced by his deputy, Davit Eremeishvili.
In his farewell speech on Facebook, Mayor Chigvaria did not elaborate on the reason for the resignation.
Opposition politicians linked Chirgvaia’s resignation to tensions with the ruling Georgian Dream party. Giga Shuhania, member of the local council (Sakrebulo) from the United National Movement, noted that influence of the group backing Chirgvaia has been weakened within Georgian Dream and that another group is making efforts to bring its favorites to power.
“Under conditions of Georgian Dream’s and Bidzina Ivanishvili’s hostile attitude towards Kutaisi, I have no illusion that anything will change for better in the city,” he added.
Prior to the Mayor’s resignation, pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV reported citing its own source that Chigvaria’s teammates and the State Security Service forced Chirgvaia to resign.
According to the same reports, a meeting was held at Kutaisi Municipality City Hall yesterday with the participation of representatives from the State Security Service and regional Imereti authorities, as well as local Sakrebulo members, where Chirgvaia was offered the position of Deputy Rector of Kutaisi State University in exchange for quitting, otherwise threatening to arrest him in case of refusal.
Civil.ge could not reach neither former mayor Chigvaria, nor Kutaisi City Hall’s Press Office for comment.
Giorgi Chirgvaria was elected as Mayor of Kutaisi after winning the runoff of 2017 local elections. Unlike Georgian Dream candidates in other self-governing cities of Batumi, Rustavi and Poti, Chigvaria then failed to garner enough votes to be elected in a first round of voting, securing only 48.66% of ballots (25,350 votes).
Chigvaria is the second mayor who resigned in Imereti region over past week. Earlier on April 1, Mayor of Terjola Municipality, Bondo Sopromadze also resigned.