UNM opposition party will hold a meeting of its 60-member governing body, political council, on Tuesday evening to decide whether to boycott second round runoffs of majoritarian MP races and whether to enter or not the new Parliament, Giga Bokeria, one of the leaders of the party said.
While ex-president and founder of UNM, Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now governor of Odessa region in Ukraine, is in favor of the boycott, the tactic is unacceptable for some other leaders of the party – Bokeria is among them.
“Opinions are split within the party and I want to join others in publicly voicing my position ahead of this important vote [by UNM’s political council],” Bokeria told journalists on Tuesday afternoon.
“I understand very well emotions and outrage of one part of our activists and supporters over disgraceful pre-election period and voting day. But I firmly believe that because of this very grave situation and despite of this unfair and not free elections, which do not express the free will of Georgian voters, our political force as the only pro-Western, democratic and efficient opposition forces in our country, should definitely enter the Parliament and participate in the second round runoffs,” Bokeria said.
“This is absolute necessity stemming from internal and external challenges our country faces,” he said.
“This is also necessary out of respect for democratic institutions and traditions; this is necessary out of respect for those 500,000 citizens who have voted for us; this is necessary out of respect for those who did not vote for us because they were intimidated, and also out of respect for those who did not support us,” Bokeria said.
“Because of these same reasons, I also believe that we should participate in the second rounds and spare no effort – no matter how difficult, and we know it will be very difficult – in order not to let Ivanishvili to gain constitutional majority. We should use all the available democratic institutions to defend freedom in the country,” he said.
“I hope and I believe that our political force will take this, right decision this evening,” Bokeria added.
With this statement, Bokeria, who is number 15 on UNM’s party list of MP candidates and is slated to be elected in the new Parliament, has joined some other senior figures from the party, who have spoken out against the boycott, among them Helen Khoshtaria, Sergi Kapanadze, Zurab Tchiaberashvili, Givi Targamadze, and some others. Akaki Minashvili and Nugzar Tsiklauri, both member of the outgoing parliament, were among those UNM members, who have publicly backed Saakashvili’s calls for the boycott. Davit Bakradze, who is number one on UNM’s party list of MP candidates and is slated to be re-elected in the new Parliament, has not expressed his opinion on the issue publicly.