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UNM member says planned party congress is illegitimate

By Messenger Staff
Friday, January 6
One of the key faces of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition, Sergo Ratiani, claims the party congress scheduled for January 20 is not legitimate, as a series of legal issues necessary for holding the 7,000-delegate congress are not in place.

Consequently, Ratiani states the outcomes of the congress that had been announced to elect the new leadership for the UNM will not be legal.

Ratiani, who currently holds the post of the UNM’s executive secretary, was criticized by some other members of the party, who accused him of trying to derange or postpone the gathering.

The idea of holding the large-scaled party congress with 7,000 delegates from all parts of Georgia belonged to Georgia’s ex-President, Mikheil Saakashvili, who was one of the founders of the UNM and is now wanted by Georgia’s law enforcers for several charges.

The UNM was divided into two about the scales of the gathering with one part saying the congress had to be less pompous.

However, out of the 50 member political council of the UNM, 25 supported Saakashvli’s initiative.

Saakashvili also wanted the UNM, which ran Georgia between 2003-2012, to boycott the October parliamentary elections, when the party managed to gain 27 seats in the 150-member legislative body.

However, a majority of the UNM members went against the initiative and thus they becme Parliament members.

UNM regional representatives claim the party is “completely ready to hold a very transparent congress and elect new leaders”.

They seem to support Saakashvili’s being as the leader of the UNM, while the younger wing of the party wants to distance themselves from the ex-President.

The congress, which aimed to show the unity of the UNM and provide vital changes for the party, will likely have more negative than positive consequences for the opposition party.

The idea of holding the congress once again proved the ongoing nature of the current confrontation within the UNM, which is now the main opposition party in Georgia.