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Ex-Parliament Speaker announces centrist party

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, May 1
Georgia’s ex-Parliament Speaker and one of the former key figures of the Republican Party, David Usupashvili, held a press conference on April 28 where he announced the formation of the Centrist Party, without naming the members.

One aspect Usupashvili confirmed was that he would name the party members at the end of May, and his party would have candidates in the local elections in autumn.

The former Parliament Speaker, who quit the Republican Party after last year’s Parliamentary Elections due to internal disagreements over the party future, said his intention was to form a different political party that would win the 2020 parliamentary elections.

He said his wife, Georgia’s ex-Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli, may not be a member of the new party.

Meanwhile, a famous law expert and three-time member of Georgia’s parliament – and another ex-member of the Republican Party - Vakhtang Khmaladze, is very likely to be a member of the new party.

Some members of the Georgian Dream ruling party say they don’t see an opponent in the form of Usupashvili’s new political group.

“The Republican Party Usupashvili belonged to couldn’t overcome the minimal election threshold last year,” current Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze said.

Meanwhile, a fellow member of the same party, Gedeon Popkhadze, stressed that a man with such extensive political experience as Usupashvili would make himself heard in Georgia’s politics.

A member of the European Georgia opposition, Sergi Ratiani, stated that time will show the prospects of the new party.

However, a representative of the United National Movement opposition, Roman Gotsiridze, said he saw Usupashvili’s party as one of the branches of the ruling team that was very likely to be financed by billionaire ex-prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

The statement was condemned by Khmaladze, who said the new party still has no sponsors and is waiting for donations.