2016 Parliamentary Elections

Former Free Democrat Leaders Come out in Support of Georgian Dream

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A number of former leaders of the Free Democrats, Zurab Abashidze, Davit Onoprishvili and Gia Tsagareishvili have announced that they plan to cooperate with the Georgian dream. The announcement came after the group met with Georgian Dream chairman, Gia Volski. Davit Onoprashvili, has openly encouraged members of the public to support the Georgian Dream, adding that in his view, there is ‘no alternative’. United National Movement member, Sergi Kapanadze has accused the Free Democrats of being subservient to the Georgian Dream.

Abashidze later also added that he hopes that the Georgian Dream will use a constitutional majority to build the country: “I think that constitution needs to be changed in many ways. I hope that Kvirikashvili’s government will use a constitutional majority [if it gains the constitutional majority after the runoffs, on October 30] in a positive way in the interests of the country.”

Former Free Democrat member Gia Volski added that they ‘might’ cooperate with the Georgian Dream, adding that, ‘A person might be your political opponent, but he or she might have the best interests of the state in mind’.

Member of United National Movement, Sergi Kapanadze has alleged that this decision has shown that the Free Democrats have never really been an actual opposition party and Kapanadze has accused the Free Democrats of being subservient to the Georgian Dream:

“There’s a fundamental difference between the supporters of Free Democrats and its former leaders of the party, which have shown that they can’t take principal decisions and that they’ve been slavishly following the government rather than the opposition. That’s why I’m sure that people who supported the Free Democrats in the first round of the elections will now support the opposition in order to avoid constitutional majority. It’s a shame that part of the former leaders of Free Democrats don’t realise that.”

Political Secretary of Free Democrats, Nino Goguadze has also commented on the matter by saying that the announcements made by the former leaders of the party were ‘unacceptable’, as the current government is alleged to have taken ‘political prisoners’ and ‘disregarded the courts whilst attacking the media’. Goguadze added that she would expect similar behaviour from the government after the elections.

She also warned about the consequences of a constitutional majority, but added that the Free Democrats would not formally come out in support of any other party.

The Free Democrats ran as part of the Georgian Dream coalition in the 2012 parliamentary elections. The party later split from the grouping as a sign of protest when embezzlement charges were brought against five former members of the Ministry of Defense. Deemed ‘the Cable Case’, the charges were largely thought to have been politically motivated.

On October 10, Former leader of Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania announced that he is leaving the politics temporarily. According to him, he will aid his country better in another capacity. Irakli Alasania also won’t be running in runoff elections for a single-mandate seat in Gori.

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