United National Movement (UNM) has changed its party list of MP candidates by placing Sandra Roelofs, wife of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, among its top candidates.
The list, originally approved by the UNM in July, is still led by MP Davit Bakradze, who is now followed by Sandra Roelofs.
The party’s decision to change its list comes less than a week after UNM named Roelofs as its majoritarian MP candidate in Zugdidi municipality’s single-member district No.66 of the Samegrelo region in western Georgia.
Being number two on the list of candidates of UNM party actually guarantees her to be elected in the Parliament through proportional, party-list system, even if she loses race for majoritarian MP seat in Zugdidi.
In Georgia’s mixed electoral system 73 MPs are elected in 73 single-member districts, known as “majoritarian” mandates, and rest of the 77 seats are allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among parties, which clear 5% threshold in nationwide popular vote.
“Entry of Sandra Roelofs into this team is a serious strengthening of this team, which, I am sure, will bring lots of positive to our citizens,” MP Bakradze said while announcing UNM’s decision to change its party list of MP candidates.
“I am ready for this struggle and I am confident that we will win,” Roelofs said.
Meanwhile, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now governor of Odessa region in Ukraine and who was chairman of UNM party before losing the Georgian citizenship late last year, campaigns for the party through video addresses, which he posts on his Facebook page. Some of the video recordings of Saakashvili’s addresses were shown by UNM at several of its campaign events. Some Georgian election monitoring groups, among them Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, claim it is violation of Georgia’s electoral legislation, which bans foreign citizens from campaigning in Georgia’s elections.