Nika Melia, Chairperson of the largest opposition party in Georgia, the United National Movement (UNM), led a briefing on 5 September which emphasized that “today’s window of unique opportunity may close soon… that is why, in order to alleviate the existing political crisis, early elections should be held in Georgia.”
During the briefing, the UNM chairperson stressed that “the oligarch’s ‘Russian Dream’ [a derogatory term used to refer to the ruling Georgian Dream party] is doing everything against joining the European family [and] against European values. The government has defied the people and such a government should be replaced soon.”
In that context, Chair Melia presented a three-step strategic plan for holding early elections and attaining European Union candidate status, starting with the party’s plans to organize a variety of political activities and protests of various forms to demand early elections.
Second, the party plans to maintain continuous communication with citizens, both in urban and rural settings, about “the need to protect the European choice and early elections.”
Finally, the party plans to maintain “intensive communication” with foreign partners who the UNM chairperson stated have realized that “under the conditions of the Russian Dream, Georgia has turned away from the Western path and has chosen a Russian orientation.”
“… By generating broad public engagement and international pressure, political activities and protests with increasing scale, intensity, and momentum, we must force the government to call early elections,” Chair Melia stated.
“Unlike in previous years, today there are all the prerequisites for the battle to end in victory,” he said.
“With early elections, everyone will choose the party they want, but we will all have the chance to be able to choose Europe together and individually,” Chair Melia concluded.
Parliament Speaker Responds
The Speaker of Parliament and ruling party member Shalva Papuashvili responded to the UNM Chairperson’s briefing by reiterating that regardless of the opposition’s demand, Parliamentary elections will take place in 2024. “Instead of being on the road to reducing radicalization at this important, landmark moment, they are stirring up polarization,” he said.
Per Speaker Papuashvili’s statement, the opposition has failed to learn from its past mistakes and the fact that its demand has no support from the public.
Note: The article was updated on 5 September at 15:08 to reflect Speaker Papuashvili’s comments.