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UNM admits inter-party confrontation

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, January 9
Members of Georgia’s main opposition party, the United National Movement, admit there is a “severe” inter-party confrontation prior to the party’s congress scheduled for January 20.

Since one wing of the party stated the congress was “unlawful” as a series of mandatory, administrative procedures were not in place, the other faction accused their opponents of “sabotage”.

On January 5, two key figures of the UNM held briefings separately with an hour interval.

General Secretary of the UNM Sergo Ratiani repeated his previous statement over the illegitimacy of the congress initiated by Georgia’s ex-President, Mikheil Saakashvili, currently a citizen of Ukraine.

He stated he had the signatures of 38 UNM district and regional organizations’ heads who opposed holding thecongress on January 20, which aimed to bring together 7,000 delegates of the UNM to address party issues and elect new leadership.

However, after an hour, another UNM member, Nika Melia - who previously opposed holding the congress on January 20 - held a briefing, and accused Ratiani and the wing the latter belonged to of attempting to sabotage the party.

Melia stated he had 78 signatures of the UNM’s regional and district organizations’ heads, who were for holding the congress on January 20, “in a very festive mode”.

Melia’s position was surprising for UNM lawmaker Elene Khoshtaria, who stated Melia went against his previous views.

Fellow member of the UNM Otar Kakhidze said there was an inter-party controversy that will not be favourable for the UNM’s goal of fighting against the founder of the current ruling force, Georgia’s “real ruler”, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Almost all Georgian analysts are unanimous in claiming that the inter-party confrontation would further weaken the UNM, which managed to gain 27 seats in the 150-member legislative body in October’s parliamentary race.