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Republican Party: President Seat Must be Occupied by the Opposition Candidate

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, November 5
The Republican Party, which previously participated in the defeat of the nine-year-rule of the United National Movement government (UNM), has officially revealed its support to the UNM presidential candidate, former FM Grigol Vashadze.

Meeting between the Republican party members and Vashadze took place on Friday. Vashadze praised Republicans for a “ very reasonable step.”

Republicans, for their part, explained the reason of the support.

"More than half of the voters told the Georgian Dream that they could not see the current government’s candidate as a president. The presidential seat will be in the hands of the opposition and it will be a clear signal for Bidzina Ivanishvili [founder of the Georgian Dream party, regarded as a real ruler of the country by the opposition] that he is not almighty,” the party chairperson Khatuna Samnidze said.

“Under the circumstances, when all the branches, all power is in the hands of one party, it is important for the presidential institution to belong to the opposition," said Samnidze.

The Republican Party was part of the Ivanishvili-founded Georgian Dream coalition in 2012 when the coalition defeated the UNM in parliamentary elections.

Prior to 2016 parliamentary elections the Republicans quit the coalition and ran separately. However, they did not overcome the 3 percent minimum, gaining no seats in the legislative body.

After the elections, top figures left the party, including former Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili, as no unanimous agreement was achieved how the party should continue its activities in the future.