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Ruling party names Kaladze as its nominee for Tbilisi Mayor

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, July 3
The Georgian Dream ruling team, which has been in power since 2012, has nominated Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze for the post of Tbilisi Mayor in the upcoming October local elections.

Kaladze, a retired footballer who played for Milan and Dynamo Kiev, vowed that “Tbilisi will win” in the elections, which will take place at the end of October according to President Giorgi Margvelashvili.

Kaladze stressed he knew about “all the issues” the capital city faces, and promised he would provide ways for solving the problems in his election program.

“This will be a very important and interesting program for the residents of Tbilisi,” Kaladze said.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated that Kaladze was a “nominee without an alternative,” and would “definitely win the race”.

The opposition parties make no secret of their disdain for Kaladze, and claim that the real ruler of the country is the founder of the Georgian Dream party, billionaire ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Ivanishvili did not attend Kaladze’s presentation and some in the ruling team say that for the first time since 2012, Ivanishvili will not be involved in the pre-election campaigning of the Georgian Dream party.

Analyst Gia Khukhashvili believes that the residents of Tbilisi will “once again have to make a choice between bad and worse”.

He claims the Georgian Dream party has no leaders, and Kaladze will receive many votes as Georgian Dream is supported by many people.

The United National Movement parliamentary opposition, which governed Georgia between 2003-2012 and was defeated by Ivanishvili’s coalition in 2012, has already named an anchor of the Rustavi 2 private broadcaster, Zaal Udumashvili, to run for Tbilisi Mayor.

The European Georgia parliamentary opposition - which is composed of former members of the United National Movement - named a political expert, Elene Khoshtaria, for the role.

There are also speculations that an independent MP of Tbilisi City Council, Aleko Elisashvili, will announce his own candidacy for the position Tbilisi Mayor.

The non-parliamentary Republicans and Free Democrats confirmed they were holding negotiations with Elisahsvili to raise his candidacy in the name of the two parties.

However, Elisashvili stated that his candidacy would be run without affiliation with any political group.