First row, left to right: MP Giorgi Vashadze of New Georgia, MP Zurab Japaridze of NPC-Girchi, Paata Burchuladze of State for People, and Mamuka Katsitadze of New Rights Party, announcing about forming of an election bloc, Tbilisi, August 18, 2016. Photo: State for People press office
State for People opposition party, launched by operatic bass Paata Burchuladze three months ago, is teaming up with NPC-Girchi, New Georgia and New Rights parties to run on the joint ticket in the October 8 parliamentary elections.
The announcement was made less than a day after New Political Center-Girchi (pine cone), New Georgia and New Rights – the three parties, which formed an election bloc two weeks ago, offered Burchuladze to join forces and lead a broader union of “pro-Western political forces”.
“We promise that we will change people’s lives for better as soon as we come into government – not after four years, but from the very first months,” Burchuladze said on Thursday evening when announcing about forming of the new bloc.
“Our door is open for everyone, who shares our visions – pro-Western policies, joining NATO; fast-paced economic growth, and the most importantly justice,” he said.
MP Giorgi Vashadze, who formed his New Georgia party after quitting the United National Movement (UNM) party in May, said that the new political unity was formed with “ambition to win the elections and come into government.”
MP Zurab Japaridze, who launched NPC-Girchi after quitting UNM party in May 2015, said: “I am convinced that this political center will secure sustainability of the pro-Western course in Georgia on the one hand, and on the other – carrying out necessary, possibly painful, economic reforms.”
“Georgia today needs changes, novelty, professionalism, progress-oriented [policies]… and Georgia today needs a political leader enjoying public confidence, high rating and people’s love – the political union, create today, includes all these [factors],” Mamuka Katsitadze, leader of the New Rights Party, said.
Paata Burchuladze said that his party has been experiencing “a huge pressure” – over the past few days several of its activists have announced about quitting of the party, criticizing leadership, including for intention to go into alliance with other parties ahead of the elections. The State for People claimed that withdrawal of some of its activists was a result of pressure from the State Security Service.
NDI/CRRC poll, fielded in June, showed that that the three parties in the New Choice bloc were far from the 5% threshold, required for a party to endorse its members in the Parliament through party-list contest. According to the same poll, the State for People had 4% support among likely voters. More than third of likely voters were undecided which party they would vote for and 13% refused to answer, according to the same poll.
Deadline for political parties to formally notify Central Election Commission about setting up of an election bloc to run on the joint ticket in the parliamentary elections expires on August 26.