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Kutaisi: a city without a mayor

By Keti Arjevanidze
Monday, April 15
Kutaisi City Council took the decision to impeach Kutaisi City Mayor Besik Bregadze on April 12. Out of 19 MPs, 14 supported the decision so that Kutaisi has now been left without a mayor. Upon the decision of the council’s majority, Mayor Besik Bregadze was dismissed along with his authority. However, the council session was noisy.

The Georgian Dream and the MPs who recently left the United National Movement (UNM) raised the issue of the mayor’s impeachment, and created their own faction– Alliance of Patriots of Georgia. The new faction is led by former vice-governor of the Imereti region, Gocha Tevdoradze, who left the position a few days ago. MPs detached from the UNM moved to the new alliance, thus the UNM lost the majority in the Kutaisi City Council.

Giorgi Ukleba, the head of the UNM faction on the Kutaisi City Council, appealed to Georgian Dream representatives saying that their “dream has come true”, although criticized them for the decision. According to Ukleba, the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia aims to defeat the UNM, but in vain. “You do not have political orientation, your only aim is to prevent people from gong to the April 19 protest rally,” he said referring to the rally scheduled by the UNM in capital Tbilisi upcoming Friday.

Vakhtang Balavadze, the Governor of Imereti region, also commented. Negatively estimating the session, Balavadze said it is up to the council to decide who should be the mayor while the “society should estimate the mayor’s work.”

Besik Bregdze, the former mayor, positively estimated his activities and thanked his co-workers. He also admitted that the people who supported his candidacy for the mayor’s position in the past now voted for his impeachment. “These people can never be formed as a political power,” he said.

Vice-Mayor Niko Kachkachishvili, will perform the duties of the Mayor for now. According to the council’s decision, a special commission has been created, and during the next 2 weeks, it will receive and discuss the applications for mayor candidacy.

Unlike Tbilisi, where the mayor is directly elected, mayors of the four other “self-governing cities” – Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi and Poti– are elected by their respective Sakrebulo (city council) MPs.