The opposition United National Movement rally on Rustaveli Avenue on March 21 concluded without incident. The opposition members have announced additional rallies and promised political reconciliation and economic amnesty when its regains power.
UNM promises political reconciliation and economic amnesty
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, March 23
The UNM, which had run the country for 9 years before the Georgian Dream coalition defeated it in the 2012 parliamentary elections, stressed at the rally that the current Georgian government has pushed the country into the current political and economic crisis.
“We will also form anti-corruption groups composed of our activists that will expose corrupt officials. The whole government is corrupt,” UNM MP Goka Gabashvili said.
Former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, who is wanted by the Georgian police for various crimes, participated in the rally via video feed from Brussels, and promised his support in the battle against the current government, which he says has halted Georgia’s development.
Fellow UNM MP Mikheil Machavariani stated that the party would launch an impeachment procedure in parliament and hoped for the opposition Free Democrats support in gathering the 60 votes needed.
However, the Free Democrats stated that they did not intend to join without first considering the situation.
The UNM claims that 50,000 people participated in the rally. This estimate was rejected by the majority. Georgian Dream MP Irakli Sesiashvili stated that at maximum, 12,000 people attended the rally.
“The rally shows that the UNM has no public support… the party has no future,” Sesiashvili said.
Fellow majority MP Manana Kobakhidze said that the people at the rally were either relatives of the UNM members or party activists. “They also might have bribed people to boost the number of protesters,” Kobakhidze said.
Analyst Khatuna Lagazidze stated that the rally was a failure for the UNM.
“The rally revealed that it will be even harder for the UNM to preserve its status as the main opposition force,” Lagazidze said.