The United National Movement, Georgia’s former ruling party, held a congress on January 20, over a week after the party’s split, and approved new members of the political council, which will be led by MP Nika Melia.
Over 7 000 delegates, who arrived from various regions of Georgia to attend the congress held at the Sports Palace in Tbilisi, supported the proposal not to elect the party chairman until Mikheil Saakashvili is allowed to return to Georgia and is able to fully engage in the political processes ongoing in the country. Saakashvili lost the party chairmanship along with losing Georgian citizenship in December 2015.
Ex-President Saakashvili told his supporters through a video conference from Washington D.C. that “the National Movement is not only the past, but it is the clearest vision of the future,” which is still ready to get back to power.
“Like ideals can not be divided, similarly the National Movement can not be divided; like the motherland does not split in pieces, similarly the National Movement does not split,” he said commending his remaining teammates for organizing the congress well and added that “Ivanishvili’s plan” to distance him from his party failed.
Saakashvili said that the United National Movement “is beginning a new great stage.”
“The state on the creation of which we worked so hard has been abolished. Today, Ivanishvili’s Ltd Georgia is functioning on our territory. Therefore, our goal is very sound and clear: to abolish Ivanishvili’s Ltd Georgia and restore Georgian statehood, to remove this destructive, harmful force and return the country to the path of rapid development,” said Saakashvili, who is wanted by Georgia on multiple charges, which he denies as politically motivated.
Sandra Roelofs, former First Lady, who also addressed the delegates, stated: “You are strengthening the party and you are strengthening Misha and Misha is strengthening you. There is so much force in Misha that even his shadow frightens some people in this country. The more they will try to weaken Misha, the more he will be strengthened.”
Along with electing Nika Melia as the chairman of the 60-member political council, the congress endorsed Zaza Bibilashvili and Levan Varshalomidze as his deputies.
The following persons were elected as members of the political council: MPs Roman Gotsiridze, Tina Bokuchava, Salome Samadashvili, Azer Suleimanov, Koba Nakopia; as well as Grigol Vashadze, Samira Ismailova, Davit Beritashvili, Gia Baramidze, Nika Rurua, Mariam Gersamia, Irakli Nadiradze, Mariam Kasrashvili, Giorgi Botkoveli, Eka Tsamalashvili, Ani Tsitlidze, Vano Petriashvili, Beso Katamadze, Zaal Samadashvili, Nino Kalandadze, Khatuna Ochiauri, Davit Kirkitadze, Zurab Melikishvili, Levan Bezhashvili, Petre Tsiskarishvili, Nugzar Tsiklauri, Akaki Minashvili, Irakli Kavtaradze, Giorgi Karbelashvili, Eka Kherkheulidze, Koba Subeliani, Giorgi Kublashvili, Vakhtang Lemonjava, Gocha Kuprava, Dato Gogokhia, Ramaz Kerechashvili, Zura Tsertsvadze, Giorgi Pataraia, Kakha Butskhrikidze, Koba Khabazi, Omar Megrelidze, Paata Lezhava, Gia Natsvlishvili, Aleko Kvakhadze, Bidzina Kherkheulidze, Nato Mchedlishvili, Giorgi Imedashvili, Davit Dartsmelidze, Chiora Taktakishvili, Kote Ioseliani, Gia Ukleba, Temur Grigalashvili, Marika Datukishvili, Rusudan Tsirekidze, Maia Javakhishvili, Nino Lapiashvili, Nika Churadze.
Former MP Petre Tsiskarishvili said that these 60 members pool is not the final composition of the political council, as new members will be added through UNM’s regional conferences.