Former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, who came in third in Tbilisi mayoral race while his For Georgia party landed third in proportional vote across Georgia in October 2 local polls, said he won’t call on his supporters to back either Georgian Dream or United National Movement candidates in the runoffs.
Gakharia, who received 9.35% in Tbilisi mayoral election, said in an October 4 press briefing that For Georgia supporters rejected “the two radical powers that form an illusion of fighting with each other,” alluding to GD and UNM, arch-rivals.
We “cannot and will not” insult our voters by urging them to vote for any of them, said the former PM. He noted that For Georgia will back its candidates in reruns, including Tsageri mayoral hopeful Besarion Bendeliani who is heading to a runoff as a runner-up to Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Nemsadze.
The statement comes as Georgia is gearing up for mayoral runoffs in 15 municipalities and self-governing cities of Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi and Poti.
For Georgia party, founded by Gakharia after he quit the GD in February, received 8.86% in Tbilisi proportional vote, and 7.79% across the country, largely landing third in municipal and city council (Sakrebulo) races.
The governing party and the UNM also seemingly need support from For Georgia for either of them to form a majority in at least Batumi and Rustavi city councils, and Senaki municipal assembly.
Continuing on his freshly-founded party’s result, Gakharia said also in the briefing on October 4 that Georgia now has a “specific lever” to combat and defeat a two party-system between groups “that are both inclined toward one-man rule.”
The former Prime Minister also said For Georgia assesses the October 2 polls as unfair, as “the Georgian citizens did not have the opportunity to express their will in a free and fair environment.”
Noting the elections were “a step backward for Georgian democracy,” Gakharia also pointed to allegations on vote-buying, violations of voter secrecy and the so-called carousel schemes.
Gakharia also touched upon Mikheil Saakashvili announcing he had returned to Georgia and the ex-President’s subsequent arrest, events that took place the day before the October 2 elections.
“The political masquerade arranged by Saakashvili of course aimed at influencing the decision of our voters,” he argued, going on to hint the development was planned “together” by the GD and the UNM.
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