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Who will fight for the position of Gori Mayor?

May 14, 2014
Lado Bichashvili, Shida Kartli

At the approaching local self-governmental elections, number of candidates for the position of the Gori Mayor is increasing. Georgian Dream’s candidate is Zurab Jirkvelishvili; United National Movemnet nominated Archil Sabiashvili for the position; election bloc Burjanadze – United Opposition nominated lawyer Mamuka Nozadze; Irakli Okruashvili-Georgian Party nominated Kakhaber Ergemlidze and Tamaz Makashvili will join the poll from the Unity Hall. 

Prime-Minister Irakli Garibashvili nominated the candidates from the Georgian Dream – Democratic Movement for the mayor’s positions in all self-governmental cities. In Gori, he nominated Zurab Jirkvelishvili as a candidate.

Garibashvili’s decision about candidature was surprise for the local government, because they expected him to nominate Davit Razmadze, chairman of the acting municipal board and regional office of the Republic Party (member of the Georgian Dream), for the position. Interim district governor Papuna Koberidze was another possible candidate; he is member of the National Forum, a member political party of the Coalition Georgian Dream. MP Soso Vakhtangashvili lobbied his candidature at the Parliament of Georgia. MP Tamaz Shioshvili from Free Democrats was one more candidate from the GD but finally PM nominated Zurab Jirkvelishvili.

Shida Kartli regional governor Zurab Rusishvili was lobbying Jirkvelishvili’s candidature. Rusishvili was manager of the Cartu Bank’s Gori office; he is close friend of the Prime Minister. Zurab Jirkvelishvili has not launched active pre-election campaign yet; he was director of the Gori Greenhouses since December, 2012; he has long experience of the business company’s manager. 

Zurab Jirkvelishvili: “My life experience and conviction to the work allows me to promise my dear Gori residents to restore their feeling of city dweller, improve infrastructure, and promote development of the education system, support kindergartens and retired people.”

Former ruling party, UNM, intended to conduct primer to select best candidates for the positions of mayor and district governor. However, later primer was cancelled and 40 days before elections, Gigi Ugulava, head of the election HQ of the UNM, presented candidates for the Gori district governor and mayor to the supporters in Gori Giorgi Eristavi State Drama Theatre. Archil Sabiashvili will struggle for the position of the Gori Mayor and Kakha Toliashvili for the district governor’s position. Archil Sabiashvili is chairman of the fraction “Patriots” in the municipal board; Kakha Toliashvili is chairman of the Gori office of the UNM; before he was head of district governor’s administration.

Archil Sabiashvili: “Pre-election campaign will focus on the creation of working places and renewal of infrastructural projects.”

Candidates from the United National Movement were also unexpected for the Gori population because according to the spread information Andro Barnov, former regional governor and head of president’s administration, was most expected candidate from the UNM. Another probable candidate was Zviad Khmaladze, former chairman of the Gori municipal board and currently member of the Fraction Nationals. However, Khmaladze did not even attend the UNM’s meeting in Gori Theatre. 

Gigi Ugulava said nomination of Kakha Toliashvili was surprise for many people even at the party meeting.  “As we learned, different person expected to be nominated for the position of Gori Mayor but internal survey of our party showed different results. That person came to our central office dressed in suits whilst Kakha Toliashvili was in smart clothes. When we announced our decision and nominated Kakha Toliashvili as a candidate, (you all know that similar facts are always followed with parties and celebration), Toliashvili felt very awkward because he was not ready for that. However, the man in suite told us he had already reserved restaurant and we could go there to celebrate the nomination.”

Leaders of the election bloc Burjanadze – United Opposition have not officially presented lawyer Mamuka Nozadze but the bloc has already made decision. Having left the meeting, Nozadze made statement about his participation in the polls as a candidate on local TV-Channels. Mamuka Nozadze has not yet met electorate but as representatives of his election office say, he will start active campaign after he is officially nominated.

After court passed judgment on Irakli Okruashvili’s case, his ally Kakhaber Ergemlidze replaced him as a candidate for the Gori mayor’s position from the political party Irakli Okruashvili – Georgian Party. Okruashvili could not meet the requirements of the law, which obliged election subject to have lived in Georgia for the past two years. As a result Irakli Okruashvili nominated Kakhaber Ergemlidze as a candidate and noted that as soon as Ergemlidze wins elections, he will become vice-mayor and take active part in the development of Gori city.

Kakhaber Ergemlidze: “We have huge chances in the upcoming elections. We are non-alternative leaders and will definitely win polls.”

Political bloc Non-Parliament Opposition, which was established based on the unification of two political parties New Rights and Free Georgia, intends to nominate candidates for the positions of Gori Mayor and district governor in near future. 

After initiative groups were deprived from the right to nominate candidates for the mayor’s position, Tamaz Makashvili established political union Unity Hall and offered his candidature to Gori residents. Nugzar Machavariani intended to be registered as a candidate for the Gori Mayor but now he will join polls for the seat in the municipal board.