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Tbilisi Mayor Names His Preferred Presidential Candidates
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 May.'13 / 18:46

Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava, and one of the senior figures in UNM party, said ex-parliament speaker and now leader of parliamentary minority group Davit Bakradze was his preferred presidential candidate for October 2013 elections.

UNM said that it would select its presidential candidate through internal elections, primaries.

“It is impossible to say in advance who will be our candidate as the candidate will be selected through the process of primaries... But I can say my personal opinion that I see following candidates from each side [UNM and GD] – I think that Irakli Alasania is the one who fits for [presidential] post best of all from the Georgian Dream and I think that’s Davit Bakradze from the [United] National movement,” Ugulava told journalists on May 9.

UNM secretary general and former PM Vano Merabishvili said on May 9 that candidates, who would run for becoming UNM’s presidential candidate, would emerge after the party agrees on rules of holding primaries.

Merabishvili declined to respond when asked whether he would be seeking or not becoming UNM’s presidential candidate.

Vice Speaker of the Parliament and former state minister for Euro-Atlantic integration, Giorgi Baramidze, has said recently that he might run in primaries to seek UNM’s presidential candidacy.

Ugulava, whose term in office as Tbilisi mayor expires in 2014, ruled out in March running for presidency in the October elections. 

Ugulava also said on May 9, that he was expecting GD to name Education Minister and Deputy PM Giorgi Margvelashvili as its presidential candidate.

PM Ivanishvili said on May 7 that GD would announce its presidential candidate next week, probably on Monday.

There have been lots of speculation in media sources recently about GD’s possible presidential candidate and Margvelashvili is among many of those figures who are rumored to be under consideration by the GD coalition. GD officials are tight-lipped about ongoing discussions over candidacy.

Defense Minister Irakli Alasania told Georgian Public Broadcaster on May 8: “I tentatively know who might be named [as GD presidential candidate] and who will generate consensus [within GD coalition].”

He sidestepped all the questions answers on which could have given a hint on who GD’s presidential candidate might be.

Alasania also said in the same interview that unlike other parties within GD coalition, he and his Free Democrats party remained in favor of a strong presidential system, instead of parliamentary one.

“But we have to reckon with the reality that we have today,” he said, referring to the fact that PM Ivanishvili and other GD coalition members are against of strong presidential system. “So of course at this stage I will support opinion of the majority and public over this issue… I think we should give a chance to this new model.”

New constitutional provision, which will go into force after inauguration of new president following elections this October, will significantly increase PM’s authority at the expense of cutting presidential powers.

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