The Free Democrats party has elected new leaders at the extraordinary congress on September 14, some six weeks ahead of October 31 parliamentary polls. The opposition party – once led by former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania – decided to join the elections race despite a major internal crisis last month.
Tamar Kekenadze, the Secretary-General of the party until now, will take up the position as a Chairperson, replacing Shalva Shavgulidze, a joint majoritarian candidate of opposition parties in the Mtatsminda constituency who announced quitting the party on August 20.
The new board will consist of Tamar Kekenadze, Vakhtang Mchedlidze, Devi Tabidze and Emzar Kakulia. Mchedlidze was also named as a top candidate in the party’s proportional list to run in the October general election.
Free Democrats also presented its majoritarian candidates for four single-mandate constituencies:
In Tbilisi, Vitali Daraselia was named as a candidate in the Saburtalo constituency, and Eduard Eloshvili is set to run in Isani.
Outside the capital, David Chuniashvili will join the majoritarian race in the Gurjaani-Signaghi-Dedoplistskharo constituency in the eastern Kakheti region, and Vakhtang Martoleki will run in Mstkheta-Dusheti-Tianeti-Kazbegi electoral district, Mtskheta-Mtianeti region.
The election of new leadership comes weeks after four key party members, including Chairperson Shalva Shavgulidze, have quit the party “over unhealthy situation in the party board” following a disagreement on the electoral party list. Kekenadze slammed the decision back then, vowing her party to still run in October parliamentary elections.
On October 31, Georgian voters will elect a 150-member Parliament, which will be composed of 120 members elected through proportional party lists and 30 MPs elected as majoritarians, a significant change in composition from the current 77/73 system which traditionally favored the ruling parties.