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United Opposition Names UNM’s Vashadze as Presidential Candidate

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, July 19
Grigol Vashadze, a member of the political council of the United National Movement (UNM), has been named as the joint presidential candidate by 10 opposition parties.

The parties - New Georgia, Serve Georgia, National Democratic Party, State for People, Christian Conservative Party, United National Movement, Civil Alliance for Freedom, New Georgia, Georgia among Leaders and Georgia’s European Democrats, formed a union - Power Is in Unity and signed a joint declaration before naming the joint candidate.

In 2008-2012 Grigol Vashadze used to serve as the Foreign Minister. Prior to this, he was the Minister of Culture. In 2017 self-government elections, the UNM nominated Vashadze as Kutaisi mayoral candidate, but he could not win in the second round.

At the presentation Vashadze said that Georgia needs a democratic ruler.

“The first step towards national consensus is creation of a civic movement, the leaders of which are here today and I am sure that these people, who are honestly serving the state, will contribute a lot to our country's rebuilding process,” he stated.

He underlined that the country has to be progressive, have direct pro-western course and civil equality.

“I do not want our youth going to emigration…The president should protect rights of each citizen…I am talking now as the candidate of the united opposition and not the UNM,” he said and vowed to carry out all necessary reforms in the country, if elected.

During the presentation, the operatic bass, Paata Burchuladze, who used to be in opposition but quit politics, also delivered speech.

He underlined that Vashadze is a worthy candidate who can be a good president. According to Burchuladze, the ruling of an oligarch should be over in Georgia, referring to the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party, ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Famous Georgian ballerina and artistic director of the State Ballet of Georgia, Nina Ananiashvili and publicist Tako Charkviani also attended the ceremony, expressing support to the candidate.

New Georgia leader, Giorgi Vashadze said the fact that different 10 political parties named one candidate means a lot.

He said Grigol Vashadze will be the best candidate in October presidential elections.

“It is a victory day because such different parties stand together…We have a common idea - we want strong and free Georgia,” he stated.

Expert Gia Khukhashvili says Vashadze’s chance of winning in presidential election is very theoretical.

“Vashadze's electoral base practically coincides with the UNM base and the support of other opposition parties is zero,” he stressed.

However, another analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze says Vashadze’s candidacy can be positively assessed but the fact that he is the member of the former ruling party UNM, will reduce his chances of winning the race.