Chairman of UNM faction in Tbilisi city council leaves party

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Koki Ionatamishvili, a member of the Tbilisi city council and the chairman of the United National Movement faction in the council, has left the United National Movement (UNM) on 1 July. According to Ionatamishvili, although the UNM announced about its renewal during the rally held on 19 April, it still remains a closed organism and has failed to renew the party.

"I would like to inform society that I have decided to leave the UNM political party because the processes of late have, unfortunately, convinced me that the party cannot tackle those objectives which it faces and despite my expectations, the transformation and renewal of the party did not happen and all in all, the UNM no longer represents the instrument of fight for better Georgia," Koki Ionatamishvili said in his statement posted on his Facebook wall.

Ionatamishvili has also said in his statement that he is not going "to take part, in any form, in the reshuffle of the council which has been announced by the Georgian Dream."

Commenting on Koki Ionatamishvili's decision the Mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava said that Ionatamishvili "may have taken an advantageous decision for him personally and will get some benefit from that. I also think that in such a situation, his behavior, both as of a friend and a colleague, is incorrect and to put it softly, morally indecent."

UNM MPs also criticized the decision of Koki Ionatamishvili. According to Davit Sakvarelidze, "many people cannot stand up to terror," whilst Davit Darchiachvili said that Ionatamishvili "took this decision for his personal or career comfort."

Later Koki Ionatamishvili said that he will continue to work in the Tbilisi city council as an independent deputy: "I am not seeking any shelter. I have not thought of joining the Georgian Dream. I will continue as an independent member of the council and then we'll see what happens."

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