Main Opposition Parties Break Deal
By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Wednesday, August 1
Grigol Vashadze, the presidential candidate from ten Georgian opposition parties affiliated with the coalition “Power Is in Unity broke the agreement signed between United National Movement (UNM) and European Georgia.
"European Georgia" and "United National Movement" with the initiative of the European People's Party (EPP) signed a three-point agreement three weeks ago in Brussels. The agreement consists of three key points: 1. Parties will support each other's candidate who passes in the second round of the presidential elections; 2. During the campaign, they will refrain from attacking each other. 3. In the first and second rounds of elections, they will maximally mobilize their voters, since the elections are the way to change the government: "We, the representatives of Georgia's pro-European forces - "European Georgia" and "the United National Movement "- express our responsibility for the country's future and emphasize that only cooperation, bilateral respect and joint efforts of the opposition can return Georgia's democracy and its pro-European course. Thus, we will support the candidate of "European Georgia" or "United National Movement" in the second round of the presidential elections scheduled for October 2018. We won't focus on our differences, and neither will attack each other during the presidential campaign. We will mobilize the voters to take part in elections in the first and second rounds because the elections have a decisive role to change the current regime,”-stated the representatives of both parties.
After the UNM together with nine opposition parties presented Grigol Vashadze as their presidential candidate, the mentioned agreement broke. At the meeting with the voters at Khodasheni village in Kakheti Vashadze blamed members of the European Georgia in crimes and mistakes made during the period of UNM governance: “All misfortunes, crimes, and mistakes are made by people who left the UNM and then found European Georgia. They think that people will forget about it, but they are wrong,”-Vashadze stated. The candidate spoke about last year's local self-government elections when he ran for the post of Kutaisi mayor. He noted that Georgian Dream and European Georgia spent a lot of money in Kutaisi and it was impossible to participate in such clowning.
The results of the 2017 Tbilisi Mayoral elections showed that "the split" of the National Movement into two separate parties has not increased the number of their supporters. Therefore, the three-point agreement served to ensure that the parties do not interfere with each other. Experts assumed that the main candidate for the presidency would be the candidate nominated by the ruling party, but if opposition parties united their power, they would have a good chance too. After Georgian Dream announced, that it may be better for them not to nominate a presidential candidate and support an independent candidate, chances for Grigol Vashadze and David Bakradze (the candidate of European Georgia) as presidential candidates have increased.
Vashadze’s recent statement can be assumed is an end of the agreement between UNM and European Georgia, and the beginning of the new campaign for the presidential elections, where the candidates of these two parties, will be the main competitors for the presidency.