Georgia’s former president and the founder of the United National Movement, Mikheil Saakashvili, commented on the departure of some of the party leaders saying that “the rule of losers is over” in a statement posted on his Facebook page.
“Our people showed their strength and did not allow the implementation Ivanishvili’s plan to distance me from the United National Movement and take over [the party],” writes ex-President Saakashvili, who is wanted in Georgia for various charges, which he denies as politically motivated.
“Everyone saw the amount of defectors today and everyone will see the strength and the amount of the United National Movement at its January 20 congress … The party is as united and as strong as it has never been in the last four years, since tens of thousands of our activists regained control over the party,” Saakashvili noted.
Saakashvili added that he “felt pity” for recently-released Gigi Ugulava, “who spoke more about me than the Oligarch who imprisoned him.”
“In the future, [we must] adopt the law, that would allow the voters to recall MPs if they deceive them,” Saakashvili concluded.
Majority of UNM lawmakers, who entered the Parliament through party list, as well as other members, announced on January 12 at a press conference in front of UNM headquarters that they would leave the party and start a new political movement, following the four-month-long intra-party frictions. The statement comes ahead of the party’s contested congress, scheduled for January 20 and a week after the release of ex-Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava.
UNM MP Nika Melia, who opted for staying in the United National Movement, arrived at party headquarters later on the same day, together with supporters.
“We respect their opinion – those, who wanted to leave, left the party,” he said and added that he was “sure that many of those people, who may consider themselves as members of their team,” would “change their mind soon and return.”
“Ivanishvili’s plan to weaken and disintegrate the National Movement has failed,” he said. “National Movement is the idea of a European, free and successful Georgia and no politician will be able to defeat the idea, no matter how numerous they are.”
“Today is the day, when the closed-door policy, arrogance, nepotism, and ignoring of the will of its supporters by the National Movement has come to an end... from January 20 the renewed National Movement will embark on a new path,” Melia stated.