- What does the idea of a “Strategy Builder” mean – a separation from the UNM and the creation of a “Third Center”?
- Who can stand on whose side?
- How do the parties measure their capabilities and whether the opposition unity has dissolved forever?
Signatory of the Charles Michel Agreement Opposition politicians The tensions that have arisen after entering the parliament have been exacerbated by the statements of “Strategy Builder” in recent days. Party leader, MP Giorgi Vashadze He reiterated that Strategy Builder was not going to cooperate with the largest opposition party, the National Movement, and that a third center for self-government elections was planned without the UNM.
“We do not believe in the idea of winning the unity of the parties trapped under the umbrella of the National Movement … Our goal (in the self-government elections) is not to hold a referendum between the Kots and the Nazis, but to leave a real alternative to the voters.” – MP Paata Manjgaladze, Secretary General of “Strategy Builder” told RFE / RL.
Who will be at the “center” and why now?
Paata Manjgaladze explains that no one has consulted about the “Third Center” yet and this process “Primary issues related to amnesty and entering the parliament” Then activated. However, “Strategy Builder” already knows who and on what principle can get to the “Third Center”.
According to Manjgaladze:
- “First of all, we will consider it here (on the Michel Agreement)” Signatory parties and individuals And all those who think that the Georgian Dream and the National Movement have “exhausted themselves”;
- “We see this (third center) not as a union around parties and politicians, but as a unity around ideas and principles”;
- “Who will be the mayoral candidate of the capital in the next self-government elections will be decided by a fair and just process.”
Are Iago Khvichia’s “Girchi” and Aleko Elisashvili’s “Citizens” meant in the “Third Center”? Manjgaladze’s answer – “I dont think so”.
Why did “Strategy Builder” start talking about this topic now, when the main problems for most of the opposition parties are the imprisonment and controversial amnesty of Nika Melia?
According to Paata Manjgaladze, they did not start this process and had to take positions:
“The election campaign has been started by a certain group and by using the topic of Nika Melia’s imprisonment, they want to carry a moral burden to support Nika Melia (as the only opposition candidate for Tbilisi mayor) … they go to everyone and ask … I do not know party representatives or activists and Supporters … we are also asked every day. “
To this end, politicians and experts often use the results published by the CEC in the 2020 parliamentary elections as a measure of party capacity.
- One of the political parties that signed the agreement and entered the parliament in the proportional part of the October 31, 2020 parliamentary elections,According to the CEC indicators, The highest and equal result was obtained by “Strategy Builder” (3.15%) And “Lelo” (3.15%). The result of the other parties is smaller.
- After the elections, Tako Charkviani’s party split from the “Strategy Builder” bloc due to the controversy over the signing of the agreement – Law and Justice. Charkviani is not going to use his parliamentary mandate;
- Not among the signatories to the agreement “European Georgia”, Whose official election rate 3.79% Equals. The agreement was signed by three MPs on the party list who are not members of the party. Among them is the former chairman of European Georgia, Davit Bakradze, who also left the party.
- The bloc of the “National Movement” – “Power is in Unity” – the highest result in the October 31 elections, according to the CEC – 27.18% Received and with more than 30 deputies still remains outside Parliament.
The idea of unity and lost trust
The issue of entering parliament is finally decided by the largest opposition party, the National Movement, after the dismissal of its chairman, Nika Melia. According to the preliminary opinion, as many representatives of the party told Radio Liberty, the parliamentary tribune will definitely be used in the process of preparation for the self-government elections.
The “National Movement” is in favor of the idea of unity and opposition.
“I think Nika Melia has full resources to unite the opposition and be in the vanguard in the form of Tbilisi mayoral candidate in the self-government elections. Fox [ხმების 44.06%-ით] Was the only oppositionist who [გლდანის მაჟორიტარულ ოლქში] He practically defeated the candidate of “Georgian Dream” [42.47%)]“ – Khatia Dekanoidze, one of the leaders of the National Movement, told Radio Liberty.
Melia, as the united opposition candidate for Tbilisi mayor, is supported by a number of parties and politicians, even beyond the UNM bloc.
While Nika Melia is still in prison, Dekanoidze calls the plan announced by “Strategy Builder” to separate from the UNM “unethical”.
“Politics also has norms of ethics. When it comes to the exclusion of the National Movement, it often resembles the message box of the Georgian Dream.” – Khatia Dekanoidze tells us and adds that in Isani majoritarian constituency, where he was running, Giorgi Vashadze took the third place.
- Khatia Dekanoidze received – 26.98%;
- Giorgi Vashadze received – 13.96%.
Will there be a May 15 rally?
Amid tensions in the opposition, questions have been raised about the May 15 rally planned by the opposition.
Neither Khatia Dekanoidze nor, for example, Giorgi Gugava from the Labor Party have a final answer. As he told us, it will be necessary to re-weigh the issue and reconsider the plans in the light of the fact that one part of the opposition, after signing the agreement, “lost confidence” in the other part. Gugava thinks that this trust can be restored only if the opposition, which has already entered the parliament, boycotts again. At this point, such a perspective is not even considered.
The Labor Party, once the main host of opposition unity rallies, remains a supporter of opposition unity rather than “third centers” for self-government elections, but sees it too early to decide who should be surrounded by “opposition unity” for self-government elections.
It caused a stir, but Strategy Builder said nothing new, and the party voiced the idea of creating a “third center” back in January, when it boycotted parliament. The process then seemed to be in an active phase and, as promised, the first results were to be seen by the public in February. The idea, however, still remains at the idea level.
According to Radio Liberty, “Strategy Builder” had communication with “Lelo” on this topic in January as well. However, “Lelo” then claimed that it had established itself as an alternative political force and the creation of a new political center was only imagined around “Lelo”.
Third force or forces?
Political scientist Gia Khukhashvili is one of those who has long supported the idea of creating a third center, and in the recent past he has also announced his intention to help the Third Front.
Are the specific contours of the third center already outlined and has work been deepened in this direction? The expert answered the question of Radio Liberty as follows:
“This is the need of the country. One is what desires and opinions we have and the other is the existing reality … The reality does not allow it yet. Statements do not always work … The opposition must be coordinated, but we must not forget that they are rivals and a single candidate will be unprofitable even on the part of the opposition as a whole. It will go into bipolar mode again, which I do not think will be good. I think the front line should be widened as much as possible to secure the second round, and then, sir, those who will go to the second round from the opposition can already be supported by the whole opposition in a consolidated manner. “It would be a political mistake for the opposition to nominate one candidate from the very beginning.”
If we look at the political field, many existing or not yet formed parties want to form a third force.
Among them is the “Alliance of Patriots” as well The team of ex-premier Giorgi Gakharia, By a party only verbally announced at the time.
Gakharia has not been seen yet, while Irma Inashvili announced to her supporters in a Facebook post posted on May 4 that she was going to continue the fight and that the party would soon show its strength to both the National Movement and the Dream.