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UNM getting ready to return the power

By Ana Robakidze
Monday, October 7
The United National Movement (UNM) re-elected President Mikheil Saakashvili as the party’s chairman. Party members voted at the party’s congress, held on October 5th at the Sports Palace. The party’s new political council was presented to the members. The council is chaired by the Parliamentary minority leader and presidential candidate, Davit Bakradze.

Former Prime Minister, Vano Merabishvili was re-elected as the secretary general of the UNM, despite the fact that he still remains in jail. The UNM released Merabishvili’s official statement welcoming the congress and the party members.

“I would like to emphasize the fact that this congress is not an ordinary meeting of the party. The party’s new regulation has to be approved today, which represents itself as a big step taken forward for more democratic mechanisms, transparency of the party. Based on the new regulations, the party will move to an absolutely new management system, where all representatives of the party’s managing team will be elected, rather than appointed,” Merabishvili said in his statement.

President Saakashvili addressed the congress calling on party members to support their candidate Davit Bakradze in the presidential elections. He said that everyone has a clear idea what Georgian president should be like. “Should the president be a puppet of any country, especially of a conqueror, or a rich person or a person thinking independently? We have visited the UN. Which candidate do you think should deliver a speech on the following 5 sessions of General Assembly? They or this man?“ Saakashvili said referring to Bakradze.

In his speech the president predicted that “the second democratic transfer of power“ will take place sooner than some may think. Saakashvili said that the UNM will return to office, but the return of the party should not be followed by “any aggression, hatred and desire for revenge.”

The president had some advice for the government as well. In his speech, he called everyone to focus on the problems of citizens, rather than on arguing with political opponents.

“People do not need violence, they are in need of jobs and the civil war rhetoric cannot help this. People want integration to the EU, but will the EU accept a country with constant confrontations? Conflicts create a condition for slavery... We should stand above any hatred and we should talk to our opponents as to our brothers,” Saakashvili said.

Addressing the party delegates, UNM presidential candidate, Bakradze, said: “The dream does not work my friends, promises are not being delivered and we all see it.” He briefly spoke about the main topics of his campaign and thanked those who supported him in the primaries.

”We are continuing the political fight...The party is changing and developing. The party is learning all lessons,“ Bakradze noted. He claimed that the past mistakes will be assessed objectively and the UNM will return with “patriotism and energy from the past, but leave behind in the past everything that the public thinks are mistakes.”

Saakashvili also presented a new flag of the party. The new flag is a moderated version of the national flag. It has large cross in the center and four hearts instead of four small crosses as it is on the national flag of the country.

“I offer you a new flag. A flag of love united around the cross, the flag of development,“ Saakashvili stated and explained that the flag represents unification around Christian values.