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Opposition still unable to agree on anything

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, April 7
Sozar Subari’s demand that all opposition parties should accept Alliance for Georgia leader Irakli Alasania as the common opposition candidate for Tbilisi Mayor, seems to have been withdrawn from the agenda of discussion, it was reported on April 6.

Subari, who has been nominated as an Alliance candidate in the Tbilisi City Council elections with the intention that he become Chair of the City Council, stated on March 31 that he was ready to withdraw his own candidacy in order to help Alasania become Mayor, as the Alliance is unlikely to persuade the other parties to agree to both the Mayor and Council leader being from the Alliance. He has since held consultations on this with the leader of Defend Georgia, Levan Gachechiladze, the National Council and Industry Will Save Georgia. On April 6 Subari and Alasania also held consultations with leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia Nino Burjanadze, after which the Conservatives and Industrialists said that all candidacies, including Alasania's are now up for discussion.

"Alasania is not the only possible candidate for Mayor being discussed, and Gachechiladze and Subari have already said that all the oppositional political leaders who have expressed a desire to participate in the Mayoral elections, are being considered for this post,” Zurab Tkemaladze, one of the leaders of Industry Will Save Georgia, said. The National Council (Conservatives, People’s Party, Movement for Fair Georgia, Party of the Future, Christian Georgia and Patriots Party) has said it is not going to support Alasania’s candidacy. "Sozar Subari’s position is not that only Alasania’s candidacy should be discussed. As for the Alliance, if I say that I am ready for collaboration with it and leader of our party Zviad Dzidziguri says otherwise, this will not be a serious matter. I appeal to the Alliance for Georgia to clarify its position on the candidacies internally to begin with and then inform us what it is. If the opposition manages to agree on a single candidate without holding an opinion poll this candidate will not be Irakli Alasania, as we want to win the elections and in the present situation, given the state of his election campaign, he will not be able to defeat the Government’s candidate in the elections,” Kakha Kukava from the Conservatives stated.

The Alliance for Georgia however refuses to countenance anyone other than Alasania being nominated as the opposition Mayoral candidate. "Subari has been given a mandate by us to hold negotiations to make sure that other opposition parties agree with Alasania’s candidacy for Tbilisi Mayor. If they do, the Alliance will then be ready to participate in collaboration. If some other candidate is suggested for the post the Alliance for Georgia will not take part in this discussion,” Davit Gamkrelidze from the Alliance said.

The National Council is continuing its efforts to identify the common candidate by means of an opinion poll. Three of its leaders, Zviad Dzidziguri from the Conservative Party, Koba Davitashvili from the People’s Party and Gia Maisashvili of the Party of the Future were intending to put their names forward in this poll but late on April 5 Maisashvili withdrew his candidacy.

"About 15,000 people will be questioned in 700 districts of the capital by going door to door and they will be asked to choose between Zviad Dzidziguri and Koba Davitashvili. We are using the voters’ lists to conduct this poll and each 70th voter on the list is to be questioned. These voters will be given three ballot papers, on the first of which they will indicate their preferred Mayoral candidate, on the second their preferred City Council candidates and on the third which party they think is most popular at present. Our representatives will take the ballot papers to the voters in their homes, then the ballots will be sealed and delivered to the National Council’s ten election district offices in Tbilisi,” Kakha Kukava said.

Analyst, Gia Khukhashvili says that the opposition attempts to identify a common candidate for Tbilisi Mayor are pointless. "What is most important is that there are systemic and ideological differences between the present opposition parties. Therefore their claims that they are ready to take any step to defeat the Government are not true, to my mind. It looks as if the opposition will not manage to reach any agreement due to their internal ideological divergences,” Khukhashvili told The Messenger.