United National Movement, Georgia’s largest opposition party, presented on August 15 the mayoral candidates to run in October 2 local elections.
Earlier, party chairman Nika Melia was named as a joint candidate by several opposition parties, to run along with Elene Khoshtaria from the Droa party as head of the city assembly (Sakrebulo).
Among the top candidates is MP Khatia Dekanoidze who will join the mayoral race in Kutaisi, Imereti region, and MP Zaal Udumashvili who will run in Mtskheta, Mtskheta-Mtianeti region. The party named Anzor Melia, a famous cardiologist and Nika Melia’s father, as a mayoral candidate in Zugdidi, Samegrelo.
Davit Kirkitadze and Giorgi Kirtadze will run as joint opposition candidates in Rustavi, Shida Kartli, and Batumi, the coastal region of Adjara, respectively. According to Melia, further joint opposition candidates are to be agreed in other municipalities.
In Dmanisi, Kvemo Kartli region, the UNM will back the candidacy of Giorgi Katuashvili, the incumbent Mayor who runs as an independent.
“I am presenting the leading champion team of the United National Movement, a team which is to win in the mayoral elections,” said Melia, adding that the candidates will be “in the avant-garde in defeating the Georgian Dream in the October 2 referendum.”
The upcoming elections were expected to decide the fate of early parliamentary elections in 2022, which would take place should the ruling party score under 43% in October as per commitments taken under the EU-brokered deal. The Georgian Dream party later quit the agreement, taking back the referendum promise.
“The referendum will still take place as all Georgian people demand this, opposition demands this, the western world demands this,” the UNM chair noted.
The UNM mayoral candidates are as follows:
Kvemo Kartli region
- Rustavi – Davit Kirkitadze, MP, joint opposition candidate
- Dmanisi – Giorgi Katuashvili, incumbent Mayor, independent
- Tetritskaro – Vano Magalashvili
- Batumi – Giorgi Kirtadze, Member of the Adjara High Council, joint opposition candidate
- Kobuleti – Bondo Tedoradze
- Khelvachauri – Misha Bolkvadze
- Keda – Ramin Beridze
- Shuakhevi – Roin Zoidze
- Khulo – Gogita Solomonidze
- Kutaisi – Khatia Dekanoidze, MP
- Vani – Badri Meburishvili
- Zestaphoni – Bakari Khijakadze
- Samtredia – Mamuka Bibileishvili
- Mtskheta – Zaal Udumashvili, MP
- Telavi – Giorgi Botkoveli, MP
- Sagarejo – Davit Javakhishvili
- Akhmeta – Zurab Otiashvili
- Gurjaani – Sergi Kakalashvili
- Dedoplistskaro – Tamaz Kochlamazishvili
- Signagi – Zaza Papuashvili
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region
- Zugdidi – Anzor Melia
- Martvili – Temur Janashia, MP
- Khobi – Besik Shengelia
Shida Kartli region
- Gori – Vasil Makharashvili
- Khashuri – Ioseb Buadze
- Kaspi – Nugzar Noniashvili
- Kareli – Nikoloz Akhalkatsi
- Adigeni – Marekhi Datashvili
- Aspindza – Giorgi Giorgadze