United National Movement, Georgia’s largest opposition party, named on August 22 the remaining twenty-four mayoral candidates to run in the October 2 local elections.
„Today I want to present twenty-four more mayoral candidates and, respectively, twenty-four new leaders of the referendum,” party Chairman Nika Melia said in his opening remarks.
The party regards the October 2 polls as “referendum,” introducing the hashtag #referendum2021 as its key campaign line. 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, while the UNM never joined the deal.
Earlier, Melia was picked as a joint opposition mayoral candidate in Tbilisi, the capital city. The party named the first candidates to run for Mayor’s offices in the regions on August 15, including two joint opposition candidates and said it would back the independent candidate in Dmanisi, Kvemo Kartli.
Also, on August 21, the UNM presented Gigi Ugulava, ex-Mayor of Tbilisi and the departed leader of the European Georgian party, as a joint opposition candidate for the port city of Poti.
The remaining mayoral candidates are as follows:
Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region
- Poti – Gigi Ugulava, ex-Mayor of Tbilisi and former leader of European Georgia party, joint opposition candidate
- Senaki – Koba Nakopia, MP, Party’s Executive Secretary
- Tsalenjikha – Gia Kharchilava
- Chkhorotsku – Badri Karchava
- Ozurgeti – Irakli Glonti
- Chokhatauri – Nona Sikharulidze
Racha-Lechkhumi – Kvemo Svaneti region
- Oni – Vazha Tsetsadze
- Tsageri – Madona Bendeliani
- Tskhaltubo – Zaza Metreveli
- Tkibuli – Besik Zosiashvili
- Bagdati – Giorgi Robakidze
- Kharagauli – Davit Maglaperidze
- Sachkhere – Irine Grdzelishvili
- Akhaltsikhe – Davit Baliashvili
- Akhalkalaki – Melik Raisyan
- Ninotsminda – Avak Bdoyan
- Borjomi – Givi Jolbordi
- Dusheti – Leonide (Levan) Kvirkveishvili
- Tianeti – Ilia Archemashvili
- Kazbegi – Imeda Shiolashvili
Kvemo Kartli region
- Marneuli – Eldar Mustafaev
- Bolnisi – Vakhtang Chagelishvili
- Gardabani – Besik Kakhabrishvili
- Tsalka – Ruslan Khutsishvili
- Kvareli – Aleksandre Mchedlishvili
The party will back independents/ candidates of other opposition parties in six more municipalities: Zurab Japaridze in Lagodekhi (Kakheti), Zurab Butskhrikidze in Terjola (Imereti), Nodar Chachanidze in Chiatura (Imereti), Lia Mukhashavria in Lanchkhuti (Guria), Zurab Jibukhaia in Khoni (Imereti), and Gigi Guledani in Mestia (Samegrelo – Zemo Svaneti).