At a special briefing at which the now former members of the UNM announced their intentions to form a new political party, former mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava stated that Bidzina Ivanishvili (the founder of Georgian Dream and the former Prime Minister of Georgia) is the problem of the country, whereas Mikheil Saakashvili is the problem of his own self.
According to Ugulava, Saakashvili didn’t create UNM – it was created by many strong individuals in unison.
“For me, the final line was when I heard Mikheil Saakashvili speaking in Zugdidi, then I realised that everything was over. . .he didn’t leave even a 1% chance for unity and, yes, he is the only person responsible for the destruction of the party – the very person who created the party. With this [event] we should stop talking about this [issue], let’s stop thinking about the past”, stated Ugulava.
Ugulava also stated that he’s been “observing the party for the past one week. I would do everything in my power to keep the party united, if there was even a small chance of that [happening]. This party wasn’t created by Saakashvili – it was created by brave people with the aim of fighting Bidzina Ivanishvili who has $5 billion dollars and the government. Mikheil Saakashvili is his own problem”.
“We politicians are like the cars serving you. When the car loses its functions, but you still love it, you may put it aside and take care of it as an antiquity. If this car doesn’t get turned into an antiquity and it still bothers you, then you may make a second decision and throw it in the garbage. All the politicians are in front of this decision. With our actions, we are responsible for the good which we can bring to people and for the wrong actions that we may bring on our country”, added Ugulava.
21 MPs and 27 members of the United National Movement’s political council have announced the division of the party today. 31 members of the political council and 5 MPs have decided to remain in the party. One MP, Azer Suleymanov, has not decided whether he will remain within the UNM or join the new party.
The controversy within the United National Movement became public after former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili encouraged members of the party not to enter the Parliament and not to participate in the runoff elections of the 2016 Parliamentary elections, to which the United National Movement’s MPs did not agree.
The UNM experienced the split also due to the issue of leadership and the role of ex - President Saakashvili, who currently resides in Ukraine and who was stripped of Georgian citizenship in 2014.
Many in the party desire Saakashvili’s continued leadership of the party, and would like to see the post of party chairman remain vacant for the time-being. Others in the party have been urging for change.