Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats, further distanced himself from his partners from Alliance for Georgia after appearing alongside with ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli, the leader of Movement for Fair Georgia party, at a gathering on February 24, which was designed to show unity among various opposition groups in their drive to select a single Tbilisi mayoral candidate for the May local elections.
Apart of Alasania and Nogaideli, leaders of Conservative and Party of People, as well as Levan Gachechiladze, leader of public movement Defend Georgia, participated in an indoor gathering in presence of representatives from various opposition-minded civil society groups.
In their speeches leaders of political parties were emphasizing on importance of, as they were putting it, “this great unity”, saying that agreement was already achieved to have a single candidate. But how this single candidate will be selected has yet to be decided.
“Mechanism of selecting a single candidate – whether through hodling of primaries, or through public opinion survey, or through agreement between the political forces, or combination of these elements – will be agreed through consultations which we are launching,” Nogaideli said.
Levan Gachechiladze, leader of public movement Defend Georgia, said it would probably take “two or three days” to produce final decision.
In his speech at the gathering, Irakli Alasania reiterated that no one should be excluded from the process of selecting a single opposition mayoral candidate. New Rights and Republican parties, which formally still remain in alliance with Alasania’s OGFD party, are strongly against of having any cooperation with Nogaideli.
“How can we achieve a victory if we isolate someone from this process?” Alasania said. “Moving towards unity is not easy, but politicians should have enough responsibility to achieve this unity through negotiations and agreement that will enable us to defeat the authorities.”
Other politicians who addressed the gathering welcomed Alasania’s decision to engage in this process, even though his partners from the Alliance for Georgia were against. They also called on the New Rights and Republican parties to follow Alasania’s suit.
“I want to thank Levan Gachechiladze for his efforts to reach this unity, but I want to especially thank Irakli Alasania, who decided to join this unity,” Nogaideli said.