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Ugulava and the United National Movement

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, January 17
Discord in the country’s main opposition United National Movement, of the party which ran Georgia between 2003-2012, has ended with the party splitting.

The separation was preceded by the release of ex-Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava from prison.

Even from behind bars, Ugulava stated that the founder of the United National Movement party, the country’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili(who is now involved in politics in Ukraine), should no longer be the party head, and the role must be taken by someone in Georgia.

On January 12, several leaders of the UNM announced that they would leave the party and start a new political movement.

“One person is responsible for dismantling the party – the same person who established the party,” Gigi Ugulava stated, referring to Saakashvili.

Members of the current ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, which was established by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, say the UNM “is coming to an end”.

The separation process in the UNM is underway, with its members declaring they are standing with Saakashvili or with the new movement under Ugulava and Davit Bakradze, ex-Parliament chair, one of the key figures of the UNM for many years.

Ugulava was released from prison on January 6, following the Tbilisi Court of Appeal’s ruling, which shortened his sentence by three years and three months.

The Court of Appeals re-qualified the misspending charges and found him guilty of exceeding his official powers. The court sentenced him to one year, three months and 22 days in prison, taking into account the December 2012 amnesty act.

As Ugulava had already served the sentence, he was released.

His release turned into a major catalyst for the UNM’s split.

The release may trigger suspicion as to whether or not the leaving of prison could have been planned prior by someone else to cause the UNM’s rupture.