Kakhaber Kemoklidze, Political Secretary of ex-Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s For Georgia party, has offered trilateral cooperation to the ruling Georgian Dream and the largest opposition United National Movement parties in local councils (Sakrebulo).
Kemoklidze said the party would nominate its members for Sakrebulo Chairs in the contested municipalities, and agree to elect Vice-Chairs from the GD and the UNM provided they agree to cooperate.
The senior For Georgia official said the offer is “another step taken by us to act in the best interests of the country, each municipality and the citizens and avoid any crisis in Sakrebulos.”
The proposal comes as the For Georgia party is set to play a decisive role in forming majorities and elections Sakrebulo chairs in at least six of the seven municipalities where the GD fell short of single-handedly securing the majority in the 2021 municipalities.
For Georgia’s support would be critical for either the GD or the UNM to form majorities in Batumi, Rustavi, Zugdidi, Tsalenjikha, Chkhorotsku and Senaki Sakrebulos. In the seventh contested council, in Martvili, the GD could cooperate with European Socialists, a party closely aligned with the governing party, and elect the chair without the rest of the opposition’s support.
Ex-PM Gakharia on October 7, five days after the first round municipal polls, proposed the GD and UNM to open trilateral talks on cooperation. In the previous offer, the For Georgia party had pledged to back any Sakrebulo chair candidate the GD and UNM would agree on.
But the governing party struck down the initiative, with GD chair Irakli Kobakhide arguing the ruling party would confidently establish majorities in contested councils by cooperating with individual elected members, instead of parties.
The For Georgia party was inaugurated in May, by ex-PM Giorgi Gakharia, who resigned from his position and quit the Georgian Dream in February. Gakharia and his party ardently oppose cooperating individually with either the GD or the UNM.
The party received 7.808% of votes in proportional municipal polls nationwide on October 2, and 8.94% of votes in Tbilisi.
Currently, the Parliament is working on a bill, passed in the first hearing, that would allow increasing the number of Deputy Sakrebulo Chairs to three in all municipalities. Existing legislation allows municipalities with over 100,000 residents can have two Deputy Sakrebulo Chairs, while smaller municipality Sakrebulos can have one. The number is not capped in Tbilisi, the capital.
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