A possible opposition majority in the Batumi City Council (Sakrebulo) is in doubt after an unexpected passing of United National Movement’s elected majoritarian member Nugzar Putkaradze.
UNM members confirmed the death of Putkaradze, aged 62, in the morning of November 18. An official cause of death was not disclosed, but Mtavari Arkhi TV cited Putkaradze’s family members in reporting diabetic ketoacidosis as the reason.
Putkaradze had won the #4 majoritarian constituency of Batumi city in the October 2 first-round local polls. According to Georgia’s election code, by-elections for the district are to be set for May 2022.
Until then, the new Batumi Sakrebulo should have 34 members.
Following Putkaradze’s passing, Georgian Dream has 16 members, UNM has 14, ex-PM Giorgi Gakharia’s For Georgia – 2, Lelo – 1. One member is independent, having quit the For Georgia, citing “unacceptable” possible cooperation with UNM and Lelo.
UNM, For Georgia and Lelo now have 17 members in total, one short of the amount needed to form a majority and elect a Sakrebulo chair.
While UNM and Lelo are openly cooperating, the prospects of their coalition partnership with For Georgia are unclear as the latter ardently opposes both the Georgian Dream and the UNM.