2016 Parliamentary Elections

Ugulava Calls for Change of UNM Leadership

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Photo: Khatia Psuturi

The United National Movement has published a letter by Gigi Ugulava, in which the former mayor calls for a new leadership of the party.

“Elections need to be held for all the key positions of the party. It will not be a betrayal of political prisoners. The party needs to develop and shouldn’t be held back by our imprisonment, which is what Ivanishvili wants” the former mayor read.

“The party failed to answer one of the public’s key questions about who their prime ministerial candidate would be. Who would take responsibility for the implementation of their program… I knew that saakashvili would not be a candidate for the position of PM, but the public was confused about this. They thought that we were offering Saakashvili’s formal or informal rule.”

The former President Mikheil Saakashvili has himself made similar comments, and has suggested that the party elect a new chairman and political council comprised of “members who weren’t responsible for the mistakes of the previous campaign.”

This sentiment was echoed by UNM member, Otar Kakhidze: “The decision-making processes of the party is hindered by the fact that part of our leaders are abroad and a number of them are in prison. The party should overcome these blind spots and choose new leaders”.

The political council meeting of the United National Movement is supposed to be held today at 19:30.

Ugulava was arrested in 2014 and is currently in prison for alleged abuse of power whilst in office, charges which are widely believed to be politically motivated.

Ugulava was held in pre-trial detention for over nine months, a move later found to have been unconstitutional. The former mayor has sought to challenge the ground of his detention and has brought a case before the Constitutional Court which seeks to argue that the constitution’s definitions of embezzlement, appropriation and abuse of power are vague and therefore open to political manipulation.

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