Levan Khabeishvili Elected New UNM Chairman  

MP Levan Khabeishvili has beaten the incumbent, Nika Melia to be elected as the new chairman of the opposition United National Movement (UNM). The winner got 52.58% (21,656 votes), against Melia’s 40% (16,476 votes).

The UNM party held the polls through an electronic voting system from January 28 to January 30. Some 49,638 party members were registered to vote, out of which 41,264 took part.

Koba Nakopia, chairman of the UNM political council, announced the results at a news briefing on January 30. Other candidates were trailing the leaders with Nona Mamulashvili getting 3.73% (1,537 votes), and Giorgi Mumladze – 3.68% (1,516 votes).

Nakopia noted that according to the party’s rules, the UNM will hold its Congress to adopt the results, after which the new Chairman will formally take the office.

Leval Khabeishvili is expected to discuss the results of the elections at a news briefing scheduled for 14:00 today. Nika Melia has not made any statement so far. The two men were locked in a bitter contest with Melia accusing the former party heavyweights of instigating the leadership challenge.

Khabeishvili’s 12-point plan

A day before the elections, on January 27, Levan Khabeishvili presented a 12-point plan for strengthening the National Movement, which aims to:

  • Create a headquarters for the release of Mikheil Saakashvili, as well as the committee for the release of political prisoners.
  • Restructure the central secretariat of the party within the first 100 days.
  • Strengthen the regional organizations within the first 100 days.
  • Strengthen and renew the Tbilisi organization within the first 100 days.
  • Strengthen the youth organization.
  • Establish the Congress of self-government members from the Sakrebulo members of the UNM.
  • Elect a flexible and effective political council.
  • Strengthen the organization of women.
  • Involve the emigrants in the decision making of the party.
  • Establish a consultative body under the National Movement.
  • Guarantee a transparent budget and project financing.
  • Convene a congress within the first 100 days.

Levan Khabeishvili’s remarks

The newly-elected chairman, Levan Khabeishvili thanked the voters for their support and emphasized that “with these elections, the National Movement has proven that its defeat is simply impossible.” He also noted that “the National Movement is the only party in Georgia that proves its commitment to democratic, western values by its actions.”

“With these elections, the National Movement has proven that it is a great unity of our tireless people who are striving for victory of our country. We have proven to everyone, our enemies and friends, inside and outside the country, that we are committed to these principles, we are committed to these values that created the Rose Revolution,” he said.

Khabeishvili said that “we are starting a process that will be a breakthrough for our country. We are beginning a difficult, but continuous struggle to defeat the Russian oligarchic regime and our defeat in this struggle is impossible.”  

Khabeishvili also noted that the party will celebrate its victory only after the country is freed from the Russian oligarchic regime.

Reactions by other candidates

Nika Melia, Khabeishvili’s main rival, congratulated him on his victory and wished him to lead the party “with dignity and truth.” Melia stressed that he would not leave the party as long as ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili “remains a personal hostage of the Russian regime.”

Nika Melia also noted that it is difficult to call anyone a winner or a loser in these elections, considering that “the country has political prisoners and the political course of Georgia, under the current government, is firmly changing towards the Russian orbit.”

In this context, Melia emphasized that he will remain at the forefront of the fight against Georgian Dream “with more energy” and “more motivation.” “I am sure that we will all win in the near future, Georgian society will win, the Georgian state will win and its future will be clear,” he added.    

Giorgi Mumladze, another candidate for the UNM chairmanship, congratulated Khabeishvili on his victory, noting that UNM supporters voted for change with this “important” decision.

“Now, we need more deeds instead of words,” he said, adding that he would support anyone who is actively involved in the campaign to free ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili and “generally, in actively fighting against the regime and Bidzina Ivanishvili.”

Nona Mamulashvili, another candidate for the UNM chairmanship, also congratulated Khabeishvili on his victory, but expressed doubt that it would pave the way for the processes the country needs.  “The problem is that in a broader sense, money and informal influences have won over politics. I would like to believe that we will not get the results that we actually get in similar cases,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

Read also:

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


Back to top button