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Ex-President Margvelashvili’s open support to opposition candidate irritates ruling party

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 11
The fourth President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili openly expressed his support to the opposition candidate Shalva Shavgulidze in Mtatsminda MP by-elections on Sunday, urging people to vote for him to avoid “political puppets.”

The appeal and the statement by the former president were cited as rude by a member of the Georgian Dream (GD) ruling party.


hvili, who also presented the GD in 2013 presidential race, stated on June 9 that Shavgulidze, a joint candidate of the European Georgia and the Free Democrats opposition parties, would protect Georgian interests in the war and courts.

“I voted for the individual who protected us with arms in his hands and in courts when our rights were violated. I voted for him to say that such people must be supported and they must have a political future. Otherwise, we will have puppets in politics who will do what somebody will dictate them,” Margvelashvili said.

A member of the Georgian Dream party Giorgi Volski said that Margvelashvili’s statement ‘was not gentlemanlike,” it was rude, attacking the ruling party candidate.

Lawyer Shavgulidze, who lost the race with 38.17 percent against the ruling party nominee, Doctor Lado Kakhadze, refused to congratulate on his opponent.

He said that he admitted to the loss which came “with the use of criminals, suppressing the prisoners’ families and buying votes.”

“There is nothing in this victory to be celebrated,” he said.

The MP by-elections in central Tbilisi Mtatsminda district were in place after the election of Salome Zurabishvili as the president of Georgia in December 2018.

In the first round of the May 19 by-elections, none of the candidates in Mtatsminda managed to overcome a mandatory 50 percent threshold that is why the second round was scheduled.

In the first round of the elections, Kakhadze received 41 percent of votes and Shavgulidze – 38.83 percent.

Margvelashvili, who was nominated as the presidential candidate by the founder of the Georgian Dream ruling party Bidzina Ivanishvili in 2013 faced problems with Ivanishvili and the party shortly after the elections, as, as he says, he refused to do what Ivanishvili wished.

He did not re-run in the 2018 presidential elections, saying that he wanted to see the change of a president taking place peacefully and democratically in the country for the first time.

The Georgian Dream supported candidate, then MP Salome Zurabishvili became the first female president of Georgia in December of last year, and will take the post for six years.