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Breakup of Saakashvili’s UNM party seems inevitable

by | Jan 11, 2017
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Newly released from prison, ex-Mayor Gigi Ugulava quickly became the leader of the anti-Saakashvili wing of the UNM. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Leading figures in Georgia’s main opposition party the United National Movement (UNM) seemed to acknowledge that a split is inevitable in comments made on Tuesday.

“This party is no longer united. When people don’t say hello to each other, it means… resources to keep the party united no longer exist,” Tbilisi’s ex-Mayor Gigi Ugulava said.

Ugulava was recently released from prison after serving more than a year for abuse of official powers and quickly became the informal leader of the group which strives to distance itself from former President Saakashvili.

The party is virtually being destroyed, and though not an easy choice, one might start thinking of forming a new political party, Ugulava added.

Even UNM’s parliamentary faction is breaking apart, as Nika Melia, a former candidate for Tbilisi mayor, is allegedly preparing to form a new parliamentary faction together with seven other parliamentarians from his party. But most of the UNM’s members of parliament will remain with the so-called Bokeria team, named after the most vocal Saakashvili critic inside the party.

For the time being, Melia is still chairman of the UNM parliamentary faction. The faction should have discussed his replacement on Monday, but it was postponed at the request of Ugulava. Otar Kakhidze, a lawyer, and Irakli Abesadze, former deputy of Ugulava, have been mentioned as possible replacements for Melia.



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