Tina Bokuchava to Replace Levan Khabeishvili as UNM Chair

Incumbent leader of the opposition United National Movement (UNM), Levan Khabeishvili, announced at the June 8 briefing that he would step down as party leader and at the upcoming UNM congress will propose the candidacy of the UNM Parliamentary faction leader, Tina Bokuchava to replace him.

Khabeishvili cited health reasons and the “strong recommendation” of doctors to avoid intensive work for “2-3 months.” In this context, he referred to his severe beating by police during the April 30-May 1 protests against the Foreign Agents Law. “Society is aware of the events that took place a month ago,” he said.

Khabeishvili plans to convene the UNM congress, which, in addition to the question of a new leader, will decide on his candidacy for the chairmanship of the party’s Political Council, which he says is not a “routine” job but still allows him to participate in political decision-making. According to Khabeishvili, the election of the party’s leadership will be held in February 2025, as scheduled.

“Today I am not going to talk at length about my vision of how we should enter the elections and win these elections, which are so important for our country. As Levan explained, we will have the opportunity to do so in the near future, but I will say one thing: without any exaggeration, today the fate of our country is being decided…”, Bokuchava said, calling for the opposition unity against Bidzina Ivanishvili, founder and honorary chair of the ruling Georgian Dream party.

Levan Khabeishvili defeated the incumbent, Nika Melia to become the new leader of the opposition UNM party in January 2023. The winner received 52.58% (21,656 votes), against Melia’s 40% (16,476 votes).

Shortly before the elections, Nika Melia, then leader of the UNM party, accused former Interior and Defense Ministers Vano Merabishvili and Davit Kezerashvili, of using “vicious, KGB-like methods” to unseat him and promote Khabeishvili. The party has since been in turmoil.

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


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