United National Movement (UNM) party held an indoor campaign rally in Tbilisi on May 8 with its leaders telling supporters that the party is “experienced, energetic, renewed and reformed.”
“In these local elections [on June 15] we can and we should fight for the most dignified results; we should fight for regaining back public confidence and support,” MP Davit Bakradze, leader of the UNM parliamentary minority group, told the assembly.
The campaign rally was held in Tbilisi’s Sports Palace, dominated by Georgian, EU and Ukrainian flags, and it was opened by the EU anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. MP Giorgi Vashadze, who was the first speaker at the rally, said it was the UNM who paved Georgia’s way towards Europe. He also sent greetings to ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, who is UNM’s chairman, and said that Saakashvili “is now in Ukraine, reinforcing Georgia’s positions there.”
UNM’s campaign talking points center mostly around messages that under the GD ruling coalition the country has become “idle” with suspended infrastructure projects and economic “stagnation” and the UNM is the political force, which will set the country back in motion.
“The only alternative to the Georgian Dream is the National Movement,” MP Vashadze told the rally.
In his speech MP Bakradze called on the authorities to lower income tax to 15%; to scrap excise tax on fuel, and to introduce “five-year moratorium on imposing new economic regulations”.
“If the government does not accept it, we will implement it when we return back into power through elections,” said Bakradze, who also added that the UNM has an “experience of building the state”, as well as an experience of learning on mistakes.
Head of UNM’s Tbilisi branch, Gigi Ugulava, who was suspended from Tbilisi mayoral office, told the rally that “crime has been incorporated into the government.” He said the government has “capitulant rhetoric” in respect of Russia and it is incapable to “defend people.”
“We fight not for revenge… We should forget revenge once and for all,” said Ugulava, who is standing trial on number of criminal charges, which he denies as politically motivated. “Let’s make a vow here that we will never let revenge and retribution to take place; we fight only for such victory.”
UNM’s Tbilisi mayoral candidate, Nika Melia, told the rally that the struggle is entering into its “decisive stage”.
“We will put an end to idleness… We will win, Tbilisi will win,” Melia told the rally. “These will be elections in which voters, regardless of their political views, will make pragmatic, rational choice, because it is impossible for the people to give support for the third consecutive election to the political force, which regrettably failed to do anything.”