On October 24, PM Irakli Garibashvili called on Tamaz Mechiauri, ex-Mayor of Tianeti Municipality running again for mayorship in runoffs against Georgian Dream candidate Levan Tsiklauri, to drop out of the race so that “we do not pour water to [United National Movement’s] mill.”
Mechiauri, one of the two non-GD Mayors elected back in 2017, retorted that it was not up to the central government to decide who is a mayor locally and he would rather “lose honorably” than drop out “in such a way.”
The opposition mayoral hopeful also rebuffed the Prime Minister’s claim about his municipality being “a hotbed of tension and sabotage” between the central government and the local council, on the one hand, and the Mayor, on the other during his tenure.
Irakli Garibashvili earlier pointed to Tianeti, along with western Ozurgeti municipality, as outlier municipalities headed by opposition mayors, whom as he said, constantly failed to coordinate with the central government.
Mechiauri said he had varied but good working relations with all three Prime Ministers who came and went during his Mayoral tenure and expected to have “the best collaboration” with Garibashvili, the fourth Georgian Dream Prime Minister to take over the government in-between the municipal elections.
“But his statements poured cold water over everything,” Tamaz Mechiauri added.
Mechiauri, is an estranged former GD lawmaker who went on to create his own For United Georgia party in 2016.