Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority, formally nominated Giorgi Chanturia as a candidate for the Tbilisi mayoral candidate.
Chanturia, once an influential figure in ex-president Shevardnadze’s administration, was head of the Georgian International Oil Corporation (GIOC) for nine years, before September, 2004. He was in charge of negotiating and implementing the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan and Baku-Tbilisi-Erzurum pipelines.
“We face many challenges; we should create new working places and reduce tariffs on energy resources; it is possible to do,” said Chanturia, who was nominated at CDM assembly on February 12, marking two-year anniversary of the party, led by MP Giorgi Targamadze.
Chanturia says that he does not view the Tbilisi mayoral post as a political position. He even said recently that he was “neither opposition, nor pro-government” figure at all.
“I believe that the city requires a good manager, who will introduce modern managerial skills; it will help resolving the problems the city is facing,” he said in an interview with Maestro TV on February 5.
“I think it is not right to view the mayoral office only as a political trampoline. When one wants public support for getting this office, this support should not be used only for satisfying political ambitions,” he added.
The same approach of being a manager rather than a political figure is adhered in his campaign by an incumbent Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, who has yet to be formally named by the ruling National Movement party as its candidate for the mayoral office in the May elections.
Chanturia has not been engaged in Georgia’s political or public life since September, 2004 when he was dismissed from the post of president of GIOG by President Saakashvili. He then left the country and worked in Azerbaijan for several years. His departure triggered speculation that he had to flee the country facing possible arrest; for some time he was in Interpol’s wanted list.
In the interview with Maestro TV Chanturia, however, strongly denied speculation that he was “forced to flee the country” in 2004; he also denied that he was ever wanted by the Georgian law enforcement agencies. He said his departure from the country was solely related to his professional activities and that he worked for almost three years in Azerbaijan on a project related on involvement of Kazakhstan in Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil transpiration route. He also said that in his capacity, while working on this project in Azerbaijan, he had regular contacts with the Georgian authorities.