Deputy Economy Minister, Giorgi Karbelashvili, will be ruling United National Movement (UNM) party’s majoritarian MP candidate in Tbilisi’s Vake single-mandate constituency for the October parliamentary elections.
According to the ruling party’s press office, UNM is expected to nominate other majoritarian MP candidates by the end of this month.
Karbelashvili, who also chairs supervisory board of the state-owned air navigation service provider SakAeroNavigatsia Ltd., has been receiving a lot of praise from President Saakashvili recently, including for his reported role in release of fifteen Georgian sailors from 16-month long Somali pirates’ captivity earlier this year.
Vake, the district in Tbilisi center, is one of those two single-mandate constituencies out of total ten in the capital city, where an opposition candidate won majoritarian race during previous parliamentary elections in 2008.
In 2010 Tbilisi mayoral race, Vake was the only electoral district of Tbilisi where ruling party’s candidate Gigi Ugulava received less than 50% of votes and the only district where his main opposition rival Irakli Alasania garnered over 30% of votes.
Georgian Dream opposition coalition, led by Bidzina Ivanishvili, which has so far nominated its majoritarian candidates for nine out of total 73 single-mandate constituencies across the country, has yet to name candidates for Tbilisi constituencies.
Georgia has a mixed system in which 73 lawmakers out of 150 will be elected in 73 single-mandate constituencies and rest 77 seats will be allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among political parties and election blocs, which will clear 5% threshold.
Under this system, wherein a majoritarian MP is elected through winner-takes-all rule (but a candidate should garner at least 30% of votes), the ruling party endorsed its candidates in 71 out of 75 single-mandate constituencies, that existed during the 2008 parliamentary elections. At the time opposition candidates won the race in the Tbilisi’s two constituencies (Vake and Didube – both won by the New Rights Party candidates), as well as in Tsageri (where the ruling party had no candidate) and Kazbegi constituencies. Unlike previous elections in 2008, in the upcoming polls independent candidates will also be eligible to run.