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Opposition Parties Agree to Run Joint Candidates in 6 Single-Mandate Districts

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A dozen of opposition parties, all signatories to the March 8 Deal on election reform, have agreed to run joint candidates in six majoritarian districts in the capital city of Tbilisi for the October parliamentary election.

After lengthy talks to smooth out differences among diverse political outfits, parties unveiled the following contenders to run in each of the six single-mandate districts:

  • Elene Khoshtaria of European Georgia in Vake district;
  • Nika Melia of United National Movement in Gldani;
  • Giorgi Vashadze of New Georgia in Isani;
  • Levan Khabeishvili of United National Movement in Samgori;
  • Shalva Shavgulidze of Free Democrats in Mtatsminda-Krtsanisi;
  • Shalsva Natelashvili of Labor Party in Nadzaladevi.

Opposition parties said they continue to consult regarding the two remaining candidates, in Didube-Chughureti and Saburtalo districts of Tbilisi.

At a briefing that followed the meeting held in the Labor Party office, Shalva Natelashvili stressed that “opposition will fight till the end, to get rid of oligarchy in [Georgian] politics.”

Elene Khoshtaria highlighted that joint action ahead of the October polls was “a public demand” adding that “it is impossible to bring about changes in our country without uniting.”

“These won’t be just simple elections, these will be existential elections that will define this country for the following 10 or 15 years,” noted Nika Melia.

Shalva Shavgulidze stressed that opposition will be able to oust the Georgian Dream from power – a political force, which serves “Russian interests,” he maintained.

This agreement paves the way to a coalition government, which will be formed after October election, stated Giorgi Vashadze.

Leaders of Lelo for Georgia party were absent from the meeting. Lelo plans to field its own candidates in each of the 30 majoritarian districts.

The constitutional amendments foresee introducing a composition based on 120 proportional and 30 majoritarian seats, as well as 1% threshold, and a cap ensuring that no single party that garners less than 40 % of votes will be able to claim a majority of seats. The Parliament is expected to vote for the amendments with its first hearing on June 21.

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