Irakli Alasania’s party has decided to engage in talks on reaching broad opposition agreement on single mayoral candidate separately without its partners from Alliance for Georgia – the New Rights and Republican parties.
The announcement made on February 22 by Alasania came as a surprise, as four days ago he said his party, Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD), fully shared the opinion of two other members of the Alliance for Georgia about terms of engaging in talks with other opposition parties. This announcement made on February 18 was a reversal of the party’s position voiced a day earlier, that OGFD was in favor of having consultation on selecting a single mayoral candidate with “everyone” – the position which was putting OGFD at odds with New Rights and Republicans, who said they would engaged with “everyone minus one” – ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia.
“If we have a disagreement within the Alliance about the forms of selecting a single opposition candidate, then we should give each other an opportunity to act freely,” Irakli Alasania said at a meeting with a group of students on February 22.
Alasania shunned away from describing the situation as a split of Alliance for Georgia and instead preferred to use a term “to act freely” – meaning that each Alliance member was free to act on its own, which in itself is believed to be the major sign of disintegration.
“As far as other forms of our relations [OGFD’s with Republican and New Rights parties] are concerned, it will be defined in the nearest future,” Alasania said in an interview with news agency, InterPressNews, on February 22.
“Other members of the Alliance are not taking part in consultations in which I am engaging together with my party,” he said.
Alasania also said that he still remains a mayoral candidate, but now only of his own party. “They [Republicans and New Rights] may take some other decision,” he said.
Republican and New Rights parties have yet to comment. Alasania’s decision is a major blow for the both of the parties, which leaves them in limbo ahead of the local elections.
Alasania said that consultation on selecting a single candidate should be launched immediately and decision taken as soon as possible.
He said that by taking this decision his party was demonstrating that it “takes the process of reaching an agreement on a single candidate with huge responsibility and all the doors are open for the cooperation with the political forces.”
“There are no preconditions,” Alasania added.
Alasania said that his party would offer a new model of selecting a single mayoral candidate – different from holding of preliminary elections, or primaries pushed by Nogaideli’s party, as well as Conservatives and Party of People. He told InterPressNews that his proposal was to establish a commission composed of civil society representatives, which would select a single candidate.