Opposition United National Movement’s Tbilisi Mayoral hopeful Nika Melia talked about his chances of winning the second round of the mayoral race, slated for October 30.
“Considering that the government completely lost [to the opposition as a whole], there are chances for us to win on October 30,” Melia told Mtavari Arkhi TV on October 3, adding that they will use this chance “to finally staff the Tbilisi City Hall with diverse people, people who do not just report to a single person.”
With all precincts now counted in Georgia’s capital, Melia, who garnered 33.96% of votes is set to face incumbent Kakha Kaladze of the ruling Georgian Dream party, who received 45.06%. Melia is also endorsed by some smaller opposition parties of European Georgia, Girchi – More Liberty, and Droa.
Asked how the opposition could counter the government’s alleged attempts at bribing and intimidating citizens ahead of runoffs, the Mayoral hopeful stressed the need for more mobilization of their supporters, as well as greater vigilance and unity in the run-up to October 30.
The UNM chair said winning second rounds in all large cities was crucial for securing a snap parliamentary election in 2022. The run-offs, in addition to Tbilisi, are to be held in all other self-governing cities of Batumi, Rustavi, Kutaisi, and Poti, as well as in several municipalities in Samegrelo, including Zugdidi town, the UNM’s traditional stronghold.
Melia indicated he wished to debate Kaladze on “all major TV networks” and vowed to introduce a shadow coalition government, composed of multiple party members and non-party figures, ahead of the second round.
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