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Senior Official Speaks of Need to Directly Elect Mayors
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 4 Apr.'09 / 13:38

Gigi Ugulava, mayor of Tbilisi and President Saakashvili’s close ally, said the authorities might agree on direct election of the capital city’s mayor as part of a compromise.

Under the current legislature, mayor of Tbilisi is elected by the Tbilisi Council – Sakrebulo and not directly by voters. Three years ago before the local elections, the opposition was pushing for direct election of mayor, but the authorities rejected the proposal at that time.

“I personally am in favor of direct election to take place in 2010 when the local elections are scheduled,” Gigi Ugulava told the Rustavi 2 TV’s weekly political talk show, Position, late on April 4. He added that there was no unanimous opinion among the authorities on the matter, but he said he would spare no efforts to convince others as well in the need for direct election of a mayor.

The announcement comes amid recent speculation in the Georgian press that the authorities were considering some compromise proposals, including offering Tbilisi mayor’s post to an opposition candidate, ahead of the street protest rallies planned from April 9 to demand President Saakashvili’s resignation. In response to these speculations, some opposition figures said the proposal would hardly help to overcome the political crisis.

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