Irakli Alasania, leader of opposition Alliance for Georgia, said he believed “holding primaries” within the opposition parties to select a single candidate for Tbilisi mayoral race in the next year’s local elections “is a right idea.”
Alasania, leader of the Our Georgia-Free Democrats party, which along with Republican and New Rights parties, is part of Alliance for Georgia, announced on September 22 about the intention to run for the Tbilisi mayoral office. The Alliance named former public defender, Sozar Subari, as a candidate for the City Council chairmanship.
The opposition Conservative Party on September 11 offered non-parliamentary opposition parties to select a single leader – whether for running in elections or for organizing renewed streets protests - through “internal elections,” or as it put it, through “primaries.” But the call at that time was not embraced by other opposition parties.
“I will only support holding of the primaries,” Alasania said in an interview with the Georgian weekly, Kviris Palitra, published on October 5. “Key political forces should name a single candidate.
“For our political team [Alliance for Georgia] Tbilisi will be decisive in the local elections – elections of the capital city’s mayor, as well as chairmanship of the City Council. Our slogan is – ‘If we win in Tbilisi, we will win in Georgia’,” he said.
Another potential opposition candidate for Tbilisi mayoral race might be Levan Gachechiladze, a co-founder and leader of public movement Defend Georgia and the opposition presidential candidate in 2008 elections. Gachechiladze, however, has yet to decide whether to run or not for the Tbilisi mayor’s office in the elections, which President Saakashvili offered to hold on May 30, 2010.
“I and Levan Gachechiladze have common vision on the capital city. I am sure we won’t have disagreeing positions,” Alasania responded when asked in the same interview to assess his chances as he would have to compete with “strong candidates” both from the ruling party and possibly from other opposition parties, like Levan Gachechiladze.
The ruling party has yet to formally name its candidate for the Tbilisi mayoral office.
Gachechiladze said in an interview with Kviris Palitra on October 5, that he has not yet taken any decision whether to run or not.
“At this stage I refrain from taking any step, because I have twice already participated in the elections falsified by Vano Merabishvili [the interior minister] and Levan Tarkhnishvili [the chairman of central election commission]. Electoral environment has not yet improved, hence so far I am not taking any decisions and I told it Irakli [Alasania],” Gachechiladze said.
Asked what his decision would be in case the electoral environment improved, Gachechiladze responded: “I have no answer on that question yet… I will run for the mayoral office if it is a joint decision of the opposition, a demand by the people and if there are more guarantees that we will be able to take Tbilisi from Saakashvili.”
On Alasania Gachechiladze said: “I have good relations with Irakli Alasania. I never say bad things about my colleagues, because I deem it necessary to keep unity in our struggle against Saakashvili.”