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European Georgia opposition names mayoral candidate

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, May 29
The European Georgia opposition party, which split from the United National Movement opposition after last year’s parliamentary elections, named Elene Khoshtaria as the party’s mayoral candidate in the upcoming local elections.

Khoshtaria, who is a specialist of international relations and previously served in the Georgia’s Reforms Associates NGO, is one of the most active faces of the party.

The Georgia party then elected Davit Bakradze, the ex-parliament chair, for the position of chairperson of the party, Giga Bokeria (the ex-secretary of the National Security Council) for the chairperson of the political board, and Gigi Ugulava, former Tbilisi mayor who has recently been released from prison, in the role of secretary general.

“I have spent almost three years in prison, but I do not have a feeling of revenge,” Ugulava said at a party congress.

He said he feels positive and hopes for the future, because revenge can destroy the country.

"Today I am starting a new stage of my life. This is a new battle and I promise you I will fight till the end.

“We are committed to the values of the Rose Revolution and now I am saying that Georgia does not deserve to be poor, hopeless and subordinated to one man [ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili]. Georgia deserves a better future,” stated Ugulava.

Ugulava stressed he was “unfairly arrested” for allegedly exceeding his official powers and embezzling state funds.

He called on everyone to join the party.

European Georgia was a result of several leaders of the United National Movement party, the former ruling faction and the current second largest parliamentary party, announcing on January 12 2017 that they had left the party to start a new political movement which would take part in the 2017 Municipal Elections.

The split from the UNM was because of controversies over the party’s future and the UNM’s affiliation with ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Members of European Georgia were advocating for distancing the UNM from Saakashvili and a renewal of the UNM with new leadership, which was not supported by many in the UNM.