TBILISI, DFWatch–The largest opposition party’s candidate for Tbilisi mayor has lost his seat in the Georgian parliament.
Nika Melia, leader of the largest opposition party United National Movement (UNM), asked for the revocation himself in July, after the ruling party abandoned the EU mediated compromise agreement negotiated by European Council President Charles Michel.
However, Melia still has a shot at public office, as a candidate for Tbilisi mayor and will face off against incumbent mayor Kakha Kaladze from the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party in the October elections.
GD first stripped Melia of his powers as a parliamentarian in February 2021 at the request of the Prosecutor’s Office. The case concerned the ongoing investigation against him in connection with the riots on June 20, 2019. He was then released on bail by the court and banned from making public statements. Melia was also fitted with an electronic bracelet and banned from leaving his house without permission.
The UNM leader defied his house arrest and took an active part in the largest opposition party’s rallies in the following weeks and at one of the rallies famously ripped off his bracelet and hurled it into the crowd.
Melia’s arrest on February 23 led to spectacular footage in international media. The UNM leader was surrounded by supporters at his party’s headquarters as special forces entered the building by climbing onto the roof using a fire ladder.Melia was released from prison on May 10 under the EU mediated agreement.