Tsalenjikha Municipal Council today became the second hung Sakrebulo where opposition parties collaborated to elect the chair, backing Korneli Salia of ex-Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s For Georgia party.
Salia received 14 of the 15 opposition ballots cast in secret voting, as one vote was voided. Meanwhile, the Georgian Dream party’s councilors refused to participate in the election.
In the 27-member Sakrebulo, arch-rivals Georgian Dream and United National Movement each have 11 councilors, Lelo party has one, For Georgia has three, and one more member is independent having split from the ex-PM’s party in October.
After being elected to the post, Salia told government-critical Formula TV that he plans to name one member each from the GD, UNM and Lelo as his deputies. As for the Sakrebulo Commissions, he said the majority of their chairs shall be from the opposition, but the GD will also be offered several seats.
Despite the ruling party’s refusal to back his candidacy, Salia maintained it is necessary to cooperate with the GD anyways. Also, he denied having held any negotiations with the other opposition parties to secure today’s victory.
The Sakrebulo session had been postponed five times previously, as the councilors were unable to elect the chair. It first convened on December 3 with a new composition following the 2021 local elections.
Now the Tsalenjikha Council has followed suit of Chkhorotsku Sakrebulo, which elected For Georgia’s Shota Tsurtsumia as the chair in December.
The For Georgia party has offered both GD and the UNM to back its candidates in the hung Sakrebulos, in turn promising official positions in the council to share power. The ex-PM’s party argues this offer is aimed at ensuring “balance” between the two largest political outfits.
Tsalenjikha, located in Georgia’s western Samegrelo region, was the only municipality to elect an opposition candidate – UNM’s Giorgi Kharchilava – as the mayor in the local polls.
- UNM-turned-Independent Helps GD Elect Dmanisi Sakrebulo Chair
- Six Hung Local Councils Fail to Elect Chairs
- Opposition Majority in Batumi Sakrebulo in Doubt
- GD Falls Short of Securing Majorities in 7 Sakrebulo