The European Georgia party held its congress at the Hotels and Preference Hualing Tbilisi venue on April 10, and elected Giga Bokeria, previously the party’s political council head, as its chairperson. The congress also endorsed Akaki Bobokhidze as Secretary-General and Gigi Tsereteli to replace Bokeria as the head of the party’s main governing body.
Davit Bakradze, Bokeria’s predecessor who served the post since the European Georgia’s foundation in 2017, and Gigi Ugulava, previous Secretary-General, left their positions over poor results in October 2020 parliamentary elections. The two announced today they also quit the party membership, citing disagreements with Bokeria, who refused to step aside from the party leadership.
In his remarks at the party congress, Bokeria said the decisions by Bakradze and Ugulava, coming amid challenging times for both the party and the country, were “wrong” and “regrettable.”
Speaking of the solutions for the country, the new party chairperson listed economic freedom, private property, personal liberty, an independent judiciary, and “the government, that does not act as if a parent or a bad nanny, but rather serves the citizens equally,” among others.
Dubbing Russia as the main enemy, Bokeria, former Secretary of the National Security Council, said “we should explain to everyone, that a free country is the one protected from external enemies, that is why we should be the members of the Euro-Atlantic space, free world, the EU and NATO, and the major partner of the U.S. in the entire region.”
Bokeria added that “European Georgia will increase its efforts a hundredfold for the country to get out of the deep crisis created by [Georgian Dream founder Bidzina] Ivanishvili’s regime, and to return to the successful, western path of development.”
Former Leaders Quit Party, Criticize Bokeria
“I regret, that the path chosen by the party seems to be heading towards the past, rather than to the future,” said Gigi Ugulava, who said he was leaving the party membership, together with the Secretary-General position, over disagreements with Bokeria.
David Bakradze, the former chairperson said: “I respect Giga [Bokeria’s] decision, but I reckon this position does not serve the party interest – with the [new] leadership presented at the congress today, it will be hard for the party to convince voters and the potential coalition partners in its renewal, new visions and better future perspectives.”
Davit Bakradze, UNM-era Parliament Speaker, and Gigi Ugulava, former Tbilisi Mayor, announced their decisions over not seeking reelection to their party leadership positions already on February 12. Earlier that day, Zurab Tchiaberashvili, another ex-Tbilisi Mayor and former Health Minister, also unveiled his decision to quit the party membership.
Prior to that, Elene Khoshtaria, another key member, was the first to quit European Georgia after the October elections in December. Khoshtaria launched a new political movement “Droa!” (It’s time) in March.
The European Georgia party split from the United National Movement, the party of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, in early 2017, following the 2016 parliamentary elections. The party participated in October 31, 2020, parliamentary elections independently for the first time and garnered 3.79%, that is five parliamentary mandates, lagging far behind the ruling Georgian Dream party and the UNM.