Chkhorotsku Municipal Council became the first hung Sakrebulo where the opposition managed to successfully collaborate and elect a chair, after United National Movement and Lelo parties backed For Georgia’s candidate Shota Tsurtsumia today.
Tsurtsumia received 14 out of 15 opposition votes as one ballot was declared void. Meanwhile, Georgian Dream councilors did not participate in the vote. In the Sakrebulo, the GD has 12 mandates, the UNM and For Georgia have 7 seats each, while Lelo has one member.
The development comes after the Sakrebulo failed to elect the Chair twice, on December 9 and December 3. On December 9, Tsurtsumia could not receive the necessary 14 votes despite UNM and Lelo’s backing, as one of the opposition councilors voted in favor of the GD candidate in a secret vote.
The Sakrebulo also elected United National Movement’s Ramaz Tolordava as the first Deputy Chair and Lelo’s Korneli Tsurtsumia as Deputy Chair. Both received the backing of all fifteen opposition councilors. The third seat for the deputy chair remains vacant for now.
Lead-up to the vote for chairpersonship
In the lead-up to the vote, the Georgian Dream and opposition councilors engaged in a back and forth that lasted over thirty minutes, with the GD accusing the For Georgia party of “political marriage” with the United National Movement.
Jumber Izoria, a GD councilor that made an unsuccessful bid at chairpersonship on December 9, tried to convince the opposition to postpone today’s vote to “sit down and talk.”
Izoria said that ahead of the session he had attempted to communicate with the opposition councilors to discuss what would be better for Chkhorotsku and its residents, but seemed frustrated with the fact that some of them “did not even pick up the phone.”
He doubted that Tsutrsumia could properly “manage the situation” if elected as chair. However, Izoria said he did not oppose the For Georgia candidate personally and would not put forward his candidacy at today’s vote.
Lelo’s Korneli Tsurtsumia meanwhile expressed hopes that the opposition’s collaboration in Chkhorotsku could become a model for the rest of the country.
Georgian Dream leader MP Sozar Subari claimed in a press briefing that “the coalition between For Georgia and the United National Movement was officially formed” after the parties joined forces to elect the Chkhorotsku Sakrebulo chair.
He claimed that the development confirmed that ex-Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, leader of For Georgia, was “pouring water on the UNM’s mill” during the election campaign.
MP Subari argued that the two parties will try to form “similar alliances” in other hung Sakrebulos, and “by uniting radicals and traitors attempt to hinder the development of several municipalities.”
One of the For Georgia leaders, Kakha Kemoklidze, told Formula TV that the party is not entering into a “systemic coalition” with any other party.
According to Kemoklidze, For Georgia presented its candidate expecting both major parties – GD and UNM – to sit down, reach a consensus and opt to back him.
“It would have been good if the Georgian Dream had taken part,” he noted, but highlighted that the fact that only opposition parties chose to back the For Georgia councillor will not impact the party’s principle of “balance.”
Kemoklidze implied that For Georgia would possibly offer an official’s position in Sakrebulo to the Georgian Dream.
This article was last updated at 19:34, December 23.
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