With the local elections two months away, ex-public defender Sozar Subari of Alliance for Georgia says the current configuration within the opposition leaves slim chances for success.
In his opinion piece – “Formula for the Victory – Agreement, Compromise, Rationalism” - published by the Georgian daily Rezonansi on March 31, Subari outlines his views on how a broader opposition agreement may be reached through mutual compromises in order to guarantee victory.
Subari is Alliance for Georgia’s candidate for Tbilisi City Council chairmanship, hence leading the party-list of the three-party coalition in proportional contest. Leader of Alliance for Georgia, Irakli Alasania, is running for the Tbilisi mayoral office.
Subari writes that he will say no to his City Council chairmanship ambition in favor of other opposition figure if others would support Alasania’s nomination.
“The current picture of the opposition forces makes prospects for victory very difficult: one part of influential opposition groups is not at all running in the elections; those running in the elections are divided into several camps. Add to it those parties, which are running in the elections upon the authorities’ orders with the aim to split an overall opposition vote and administrative resources and means for rigging the elections available for the authorities and it will become clear that [the ruling] National Movement party has a huge advantage,” Subari writes.
“That is a bitter truth, which we have to face,” he says.
While repeating for several times in the article that Alasania is the only figure within the opposition capable to challenge the ruling party’s mayoral candidate, Subari also says that taking into consideration interests of other political parties is required for success.
“I am sure, that everyone for whom change of the government and saving of the country is important should support Irakli Alasania… That is a compromise, which is needed for the country’s interests,” he writes.
“But at the same time, I fully understand that each political group has its own interests and I believe that in order to achieve a real agreement these interests should be taken into consideration.”
“With the elections 60 days away only statements are no longer enough; concrete steps are required. For that reason I refuse to be a candidate for City Council chairmanship and I am ready to support on this nomination a representative from other opposition group on which the opposition will agree. With the Alliance for Georgia already having an obvious mayoral candidate – Irakli Alasania - in the current situation I believe it will be justified if a City Council chairmanship candidate is nominated from other opposition group. It is required for achieving the agreement and consequently the victory.”
Subari then addresses individual opposition figures and parties, whose role in upcoming elections he deems important. On Levan Gachechiladze, a founder of public movement Defend Georgia, Subari says that his involvement in the electoral process “is a serious precondition for defeating the authorities.”
Gachechiladze, who was a presidential candidate of a large group of opposition coalition in 2008 election defeating Mikheil Saakashvili in the capital city but losing the nationwide race, said on March 30 that he was not ready at this stage to support any of the existing opposition mayoral candidates. He also says that he will not run independently without support of other opposition parties.
Subari also addresses group of politicians, which are now in a coalition with ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s party Movement for Fair Georgia, including Conservative Party leaders Zviad Dzidziguri and Kakha Kukava, as well as Party of People leader Koba Davitashvili.
“Although having differences on various issues, I always deemed and still deem Dzidziguri, Davitashvili and Kukava as co-fighters against authoritarianism. Their support to Irakli Alasania will be a real guarantee for defeating the National Movement,” Subari says.
He, however, makes no mentioning of Nogaideli. Subari, along with two other parties from the Alliance for Georgia, have been strongly against having any cooperation with Nogaideli citing his past record as PM in the Saakashvili’s administration and his cooperation with Russia’s ruling party. Despite having different position initially on the matter, Alasania’s party Our Georgia-Free Democrats also joined this line of Alliance for Georgia.
A coalition consisting of Nogaideli’s party, Conservative Party and Party of People, as well as three little-known parties, plans to select its mayoral candidate through public opinion survey among Zviad Dzidziguri, Koba Davitashvili and Gia Maisashvili, who was an underdog presidential candidate in 2008 election. The coalition plans to nominate its candidate on April 9.
Subari also writes about the important role of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority and of Industrialist Party, saying that their “participation in this project will be very important.”
CDM has its mayoral candidate Giorgi Chanturia, ax-chief of state oil corporation, who is running an active campaign making focus on the promise to significantly cut gas and electricity tariffs for household and make water consumption free of charge. CDM’s candidate for the Tbilisi City Council chair's position is a former TV anchor, Inga Grigolia.
Industrialist Party also nominated its candidate – the party co-founder and beer magnate Gogi Topadze.
Subari also requests those political parties, which announced that they would not run in the local elections, not to call on their supporters to boycott the upcoming polls. Labor Party, National Forum and Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG) parties are among those groups, which have refused to run.
Subari also called on the opposition parties not to challenge each other in the majoritarian contest in Tbilisi’s 25 single-mandate constituencies. The rest of the 25 seats in the Tbilisi City Council will be filled through proportional, party-list contest. He says that agreement on a single majoritarian candidates will not mean running on a joint ticket in the party-list, proportional contest.
“Very important elections will be held in two months. Victory is very close. We can win through agreement and mutual compromises. But we will definitely lose in case of confronting each other,” Subari writes.