New Rights Party has formed an election bloc with the eight-party opposition coalition to run on the joint ticket in the May 21 parliamentary elections.
“I want to declare about an unprecedented unification of the opposition. We launch a struggle for defeating Saakashvili’s regime,” Levan Gachechiladze, leader of the coalition, which has now turned into nine-party bloc, said at a press conference on April 7.
The bloc said drafting of its list of MP candidates, who will run under the proportional system, was not yet finalized. It revealed only part of the list on April 7.
The bloc’s list is led by Levan Gachechiladze, followed by MP Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights party. The latter will also be head of the bloc’s campaign headquarters.
Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, leader of the Freedom party, will be the third in the list, followed by MP Zviad Dzidziguri of the Conservative Party and Koba Davitashvili, leader of the Party of People.
Other figures in the top twenty of the list are: Eka Beselia of the Movement for the United Georgia (ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili’s party); Dima Lortkipanidze of Georgia’s Ways Party, led by Salome Zourabichvili; Giorgi Khaindrava, an individual member of the bloc; Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum; Jondi Bagaturia, leader of the Georgian Troupe; MP Koka Guntsadze of the Movement for United Georgia; MP Gia Tortladze and MP Gia Tsagareishvili, both individual members of the bloc and MP Kakha Kukava of the Conservative Party.
The bloc also nominated on April 7 some of the majoritarian MP candidates, who will run in the single-mandate constituencies.
Leader of New Rights, Gamkrelidze, plans to run in the Tbilisi’s Vake single-mandate constituency. The opposition Republican Party has already nominated MP Levan Berdzenishvili in the same constituency. The ruling party has yet to nominate its candidate there.
Giorgi Khaindrava will run in the Tbilisi’s Krtsanisi single-mandate constituency, where he will have to compete with the ruling party nominee, Dilar Khabuliani.
MP Koka Guntsadze will run in the Tbilisi’s Chugureti single-mandate constituency. The ruling party has nominated in the same district Georgia’s ambassador to Israel, Lasha Zhvania.
Speaking at the news conference on April 7, Koba Davitashvili, the leader of Party of People, called on the other major opposition parties – the Republicans and Labor Party – to join the coalition to “defeat Saakashvili’s regime by joint efforts.” Neither of the party is likely to follow the call.
The Republicans, which quit the opposition coalition in late February, said that by running independently the Republicans were trying to maximize the overall opposition vote by targeting mainly moderate and undecided voters.
MP Levan Berdzenishvili of the Republican Party told the Georgian newspaper Versia (Version) that the party expected to endorse from at least four to maximum eleven majoritarian MPs. He also said that it would be a success for the party if it garners 15% of votes through proportional system.
The Labor Party, led by Shalva Natelashvili, has also made it clear that it would not join the opposition coalition and has even stepped up the criticism of the bloc.
April 8 is a deadline for the submission of applications for parties wishing to set up an election bloc.
Half of the 150-seat parliament will be elected through the party-list, proportional system and the remaining seats will be filled by majoritarian MPs elected in the 75 single-mandate constituencies.
The opposition has so far failed to cooperate closely in nomination of single majoritarian MP candidates, which further increases the ruling party chances to endorse its nominees in majority of single-mandate constituencies.
April 21 is a deadline for submission of party/bloc-lists of MP candidates, as well as for submission of majoritarian MP candidates.