The 'opinion poll parties' are on their own
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 9The parties who had previously agreed to hold a public opinion poll to identify a common opposition candidate for Tbilisi Mayor confirmed on March 8 at the People’s Party office that they will do this. However no other parties will support them.
The three parties who were intending to hold a primary to identify a common opposition candidate for the Tbilisi Mayor elections, the People’s Party, Conservatives and the Movement for Fair Georgia, had renounced their intention to do this on March 1, when they together with the Mamulishvili (Compatriot) Party, Party of the Future and the Christian Georgia signed a document saying they would hold an opinion poll instead. The deadline given to other parties to sign this document was March 7, but none have done so.
A new follow-up document signed on March 8 does not abandon the idea of primaries completely as it states that all other candidates for the local elections in Tbilisi and elsewhere will be selected through primaries. Both the opinion poll and primaries will be held between 5 and 20 of April but from March 12 street rallies and meetings will take place in Tbilisi and the regions. The common candidate of the parties taking part in this process will be named on April 9 at the Sport Palace.
Other parties can still take part in the opinion poll and primaries up until March 28. “It is very regrettable that other opposition parties have not supported our initiative on revealing the common candidate through opinion polling. We have our way, however our great aim is to defeat the Government. It is our opponent that is why we are not going to quarrel with other opposition directions,” Zviad Dzidziguri from the Conservatives stated. “The idea of identifying a single candidate has been buried by Irakli Alasania, but even now if he decides to take part in public polling to select the our door is open for him,” Zurab Noghaideli, Leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia, stated.
However, "The Alliance for Georgia will not take part in either primaries or an opinion poll. We have a leader, Irakli Alasania, who has the highest rating among opposition leaders,” Manana Nachkhebia stated. Fellow Alliance leader Sozar Subari stated that "There are some things which cannot be done at the same time. It is not right to suggest that the country adopts a European model of statehood while at the same time building a state the Russian way. The voters should decide what kind of country they want to live in.” Leader of the Way of Georgia, Salome Zourabichvili said she will support Irakli Alasania in the Tbilisi Mayoral elections. "There is a candidate who has all resources necessary to win. I have already explained to other opposition parties why Irakli Alasania is the most appropriate candidate for the Mayor's post. The opposition wants unification but no one is ready to give up their own wishes and goals. Sometimes trades within the opposition are more powerful than the idea of unification,” Zourabichvili said.
Zourabichvili appealed to Levan Gachechiladze, leader of Defend Georgia, and all other opposition figures to support Alasania. Zviad Dzidziguri said that consultations with Gachechiladze are ongoing. "We are having consultations with him, but Gachechiladze will announce his decision himself,” Dzidziguri said. Gachechiladze's Press Service says that he is presently in Milan but will return to Georgia on March 9 and make a statement concerned this afterwards.