UNM opposition party has named on March 1 two candidates who will participate in internal party elections for nomination to run for Tbilisi mayoral office in the June 15 local elections.
UNM lawmaker, Giorgi Vashadze, and Tbilisi city municipality official, Nikoloz Melia, will be in nomination contest. Decision was announced at an assembly of UNM party’s Tbilisi branch on March 1.
MP Vashadze, who first announced about intention to run for capital city’s mayoral office last year, was deputy justice minister in 2010-2012 and turned into one of UNM’s most visible figures since becoming a lawmaker in 2012 parliamentary elections.
Nikoloz Melia, who is now head of Tbilisi's Mtatsminda district, chaired the National Bureau of Enforcement before the 2012 parliamentary elections; last year he was charged with abuse of power while serving as head of the enforcement bureau in the case related to Cartu Bank; he denies charges.
“I am not a politician; I do not have political experience… But I do don’t see it as disadvantage, on the contrary it is advantage,” Melia told the UNM Tbilisi branch congress on March 1.
Gigi Ugulava, who was suspended from Tbilisi mayor’s office by the court in December after he was charged in connection with alleged misspending of GEL 48.18 million of public funds in 2011-2012, said he will not run for Tbilisi mayoral office; in September he said he wanted to run for re-election.
Speaking at UNM’s congress in Tbilisi on March 1, Ugulava said in reference to Georgian Dream’s Tbilisi mayoral candidate Davit Narmania: “The government has inexperienced candidate, who is absolutely unsuitable candidate for Tbilisi and who candidacy perhaps is even offensive for many.”
“Therefore victory [in Tbilisi mayoral race] is real. But I will not run for Tbilisi mayoral office because I strongly believe that one and the same person should not become chained to the office,” said Ugulava, who was Tbilisi mayor since 2005.
GD’s candidate Davit Narmania, who is now minister for regional development and infrastructure, said earlier on March 1 before UNM named its potential candidates, that he was not paying much attention who would be his competitor from the UNM party. “This is a political force with very low political rating,” Narmania said.