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Georgian Dream mayoral candidates named

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, April 28
The Georgian Dream coalition has officially kicked-off its election campaign and named the mayoral candidates of 12 towns for the June 15 local elections. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili named the Georgian Dream’s mayoral candidates at the party’s congress at Tbilisi’s Sports Palace on Saturday.

The candidates are: Tbilisi-Davit Narmania, Kutaisi – Shota Murghulia, Batumi – Giorgi Ermakov, Telavi – Platon Kalmakhelidze, Ambrolauri – Rati Namgaladze, Rustavi – Davit Jikia, Akhaltsikhe – Giorgi Kopadze, Mtskheta – Avtandil Nemsitsveridze, Zugdidi – Irakli Gogokhia, Gori – Zurab Jirgvelishvili, Ozurgeti – Beglar Sioridze, Poti – Irakli Kakulia.

Starting his election campaign from April 28, the former Minister of Infrastructure Davit Narmania has ruled-out a second round of voting in Tbilisi, promising that all the problems of Tbilisi will be solved in four years.

An economist and lawyer by profession, Shota Murghulia was the deputy Minister of Infrastructure after the Georgian Dream’s victory. Then he was appointed as Kutaisi Mayor. Giorgi Ermakov is also the acting Mayor of Batumi. He is a lawyer by profession. Platon Kalmakhelidze is a doctor and a native “Telavian”. Rati Namgaladze is a construction engineer and an economist. According to the PM, Namgaladze is a very experienced and competent person. Davit Jikia is an economist. The PM announced that the candidate has also gained an education in urban planning and development that will be beneficial on the mayoral position. Giorgi Kopadze is a lawyer. Avtandil Nemsitsveradze was described as an honorable person. Irakli Gogokhia is also an economist. Zurab Jirgvelishvili is a doctor of technical sciences. Beglar Sioridze is an agriculture expert. Irakli Kakulia is a construction-engineer and a lawyer by profession.

According to the coalition representative, Eka Beselia, the coalition’s proportional list will be available soon.

“50% of the candidates on the election list will be from the Georgian Dream party, the other 50% will be from the other coalition member parties,” Vice Premier Kakhi Kaladze announced.

Georgian Dream members Zviad Dzidziguri and Giorgi Volski stress that the mayoral candidates have not been selected through partial interest. According to them, most of the candidates are not associated with any political party. The coalition members are 100% sure in the victory of the candidates.

The opposition United National Movement (UNM) has not yet named all its mayoral candidates. According to UNM member Gia Tevdoradze, consultations are underway in the party and the outcomes will be publicly known in the near future.

Meanwhile, the suspended Tbilisi Mayor and representative of the UNM Gigi Ugulava, speaks of the “unprecedented” pressure on UNM supporters.

He stresses that the scale of arrests of the previous and current governments of Georgia is incomparable.

“Now the Prime Minister and several ministers are in prison. The ignorant prosecutor’s office decided to question Saakashvili in a completely unusual manner. Our 25,000 supporters have been questioned,” Gigi Ugulava said.