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Former UNM MPs create new political centre

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, May 28
The four former members of the opposition United National Movement ( UNM) who left the party a few days ago, released a statement speaking about the reasons behind their decision.

Zurab Japaridze, Pavle Kublashvili, Giorgi Meladze and Goga Khachidze stressed that since the 2012 parliamentary elections, when the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the UNM, the former ruling party has failed to renew.

The MPs claimed that despite the fact that the UNM peacefully conceded its power and survived, they did not feel these factors were enough to oppose the Georgian Dream in the upcoming 2016 parliamentary elections.

The four also stated that it is very likely pro-Russian forces to be dominant in the upcoming elections, while there are no genuine political opponents to be worthy rivals for the challenge.

Thus the four MPs emphasized that they are creating a new political centre that will unite professional individuals striving for Georgia’s Western development.

They also claim that they would reveal a “non-populist” economic plan from the 2016 elections.

The former UNM MPs stress that they had consulted one of the leaders of the party and through his appeal they remained within the UNM for some time.

They stress that they wanted to leave the party through prior talks with the party members. However, “information leaked”.

The individuals stress that fighting against the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili and his illegal running of the country remains their major goal.

The UNM members criticized the four and stressed that it was not a right time for leaving the party.

They called the step irresponsible.

The UNM MP Zurab Tchiaberashvili stressed the controversy within the UNM gladdened the ruling force.

Commenting on the issue Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili stated that the splitting process of the UNM is underway.

Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said that more members of the UNM will quit the party and go “in different directions”.

Analyst Khatuna Lagazidze believes that the step might have been taken due to various reasons. She stresses that there were certain controversies within the UNM concerning the party’s fate.

“One wished the party to still be affiliated with Mikheil Saakashvili, while others opposed it and asked for a compete re-branding. The reason of their leaving the UNM might be something to do with this. Herewith, a new pro-Western coalition might be created, that is likely to be a wish of the west-oriented parties in Georgia and our western partners…The coalition might be created among certain members of the UNM, the Free Democrats and the Republicans, as joining with some members of the UNM will not be as painful as uniting with the UNM that is very much discredited,” Lagazidze says.

The analyst believes, however, that even in the case of such a coalition accumulating of votes would be a hard task.

“If the UNM is split still further, its voters will be confused. The UNM managed to attract its voters as it was one, unanimous team,” Lagazidze says, adding that the process might be more profitable for the ruling force.