Incumbent Tbilisi Mayor, running for reelection, Kakha Kaladze and the ruling Georgian Dream party have addressed the public to “put an end” to the United National Movement, the largest opposition party.
Kaladze, headed to the Tbilisi mayoral runoff against runner-up Nika Melia of UNM, urged the citizens to participate in the second rounds in the 20 municipalities. “Come to the elections so that we may put an end to the Bolshevism, the evil, the hatred, and the lies that are embodied by the United National Movement in this country once and for all!”
The Tbilisi Mayor dubbed the UNM administration era a “dark past of our country and our city.” He reminded the public of “violations of citizens’ dignity, the violence, the terror, the seizure of property, the murder of innocent young people, the trampling of the freedom of speech, the crackdown on the media, the cynicism, the lies, and the racketeering that used to take place.”
The Georgian Dream candidate claimed the campaign of his rival, Nika Melia, “was aimed at overthrowing the government, stirring up unrest, and the so-called referendum.” Melia “has done nothing for the country and the city other than bankrupting private companies, trying to break into state buildings, and constantly staging hooligan provocations,” he argued.
Incumbent Kaladze noted that his campaign has been aimed at offering a “sophisticated and well-thought-out city development plan,” instead of targetting his opponent’s shortcomings and flaws.
“Tbilisi and Georgia do not need revenge and chaos – they need progress and peace,” he stressed, and went on to express confidence that “progress and stability will prevail” in October 30 runoffs.
Also on October 18, the Georgian Dream published a video collage containing seemingly embarrassing footage of Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidential tenure, as well as a clip of UNM-era Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava addressing a rally.
Nika Melia, the contender for the Tbilisi Mayor, featured in the video as well, in footage of the June 19-20 anti-occupation demonstration outside the Parliament building.
The video’s caption said “Being a Natsi [a derogatory term for UNM] is shameful. Let us end Natsis!”
After the exit poll results came in on October 2, Election Day, Georgian Dream leaders celebrated what they called a “great victory.” In his address, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili argued then that “we have put an end to polarization in the country. Today we have ended the era of hate and lies.” Imedi TV/ORBI exit poll had given Kakha Kaladze a first-round victory in Tbilisi mayoral race.
UNM’s Dekanoidze responds
She pointed out that after nine years of power handover from the UNM to GD, the ruling party’s “main campaign is a clip captioned being a Natsi is shameful.”
She argued the GD’s post called for “the destruction of an opposition party.”
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