Sozar Subari, co-chair of Alliance for Georgia, said he would start consultations with number of opposition parties running in the elections to discuss his proposals laid out in a newspaper article on March 31.
Subari, who is Alliance for Georgia’s candidate for Tbilisi City Council chairmanship, offered that he would withdraw from the race and support other candidate from other opposition group in exchange if others support Alliance for Georgia’s leader Irakli Alasania’s mayoral candidacy.
Levan Gachechiladze, a founder of public movement Defend Georgia, welcomed Subari’s move as “a step towards broad agreement” within the opposition. He, however, said would not run for City Council chairmanship.
National Council – a grouping of several opposition parties, including ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia; Conservative Party and Party of People – said it was ready to consider Subari’s proposal. But it also said that that it was still in favor of selecting a single candidate through public opinion survey, instead of unconditionally supporting Alasania.
Leader of Industrialists Party, Gogi Topadze, who is also a mayoral candidate, said he would also engage in the consultations. Topadze said an agreement on a single candidate was hardly possible, “but if such an agreement is achieved, we are ready to join it.”
In late February Alasania himself tried to achieve an agreement on a single mayoral candidate with other opposition groups, but his attempt failed to bring any result, even triggering a brief internal dispute within the Alliance for Georgia.
Subari’s move to some extent is similar to the previous attempt by Alasania. Difference, however, is that if previously the proposal involved talks on defining terms for selecting a single mayoral candidate, now Alliance for Georgia says others should support Alasania and in exchange it will support other opposition representative for the City Council chairmanship. The proposal also involves agreement on single candidates for majoritarian contest in Tbilisi’s 25 single-mandate constituencies. Remaining 25 seats in the Tbilisi City Council are contested based on party-list, proportional system.
Another difference seems to be a softening stance on ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s role. While previously Subari and two other members of the Alliance for Georgia – Republican Party and New Rights - were proposing talks based on formula “all minus one” – referring to Nogaideli – now they say that such formula was not relevant to the current context, because Nogaideli himself was running neither in mayoral race, nor in majoritarian contest for City Council membership. They also say that the proposal is not about setting up of united electoral bloc, but about reaching an agreement on “rules of the game” so that not to split overall opposition vote.
Nogaideli said that any ultimatum, similar to the one, which was set previously by the Alliance for Georgia was unacceptable.
“Everyone knows there is no victory without us,” he said.
Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority group, said Subari proposal was “counterproductive” and “a waste of time” and added that it was now occupied with its election campaign.
CDM has nominated ex-chief of state oil corporation, Giorgi Chanturia, as Tbilisi mayoral candidate and ex-TV anchor, Inga Grigolia, as a candidate for Tbilisi City Council chair’s position.
“I think we have a great chance for a victory in Tbilisi,” Grigolia said on April 2.