UNM names ex-first lady Sandra Roelofs as its majoritarian candidate

Agenda.ge, 19 Aug 2016 - 16:45, Tbilisi,Georgia

United National Movement (UNM), the opposition party that was ousted in the 2012 Parliamentary Elections, has named former first lady of Georgia, Sandra Roelofs, as its majoritarian candidate representing west Georgia’s Zugdidi municipality.

Today while addressing UNM supporters in Kortskheli village, Roelofs, who is the wife of Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, spoke about the reasons why she decided to enter politics ahead of the October 8 Parliamentary Elections. 

I worry that Georgia is gradually being erased from the world map, like it was in the 1990s and I want to take steps against such a negative prospect," Roelofs said. 

Roelofs stressed UNM would not repeat the mistakes it made when it was defeated by the current ruling Georgian Dream (GD) coalition at the 2012 Parliamentary Elections. 

In response the members of the current ruling party stressed the UNM had no chances as the party was involved in large-scaled human rights violations and the Georgian people remembered this. 

Roelofs is the former first lady of Georgia and is married to Saakashvili despite him living and working in Ukraine. Saakashvili is wanted in Georgia for various alleged crimes. He has relinquished his Georgian citizenship and now served in Ukraine as the Odessa Governor.

UNM party leader David Bakradze said Roelofs’ participation in the upcoming elections was "great news for Zugdidi, for UNM and for the whole country”. 

Bakradze, the leader of UNM which led the country from 2003 to 2012, said he was sure Roelofs would "definitely win” in Zugdidi. 

However members of the GD coalition believed UNM "had no chances with or without Sandra Roelofs” in the elections. 

The fact that [UNM] party leaders are searching for candidates inside their families hints at the absence of others who wish to be affiliated with UNM,” said Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) member Zakaria Kutsnashvili. 

Fellow GDDG member Nukri Kantaria believed Roelofs would not be able to provide any positive changes for UNM, as the party was "very much disliked” in Georgia.

No matter who UNM’s candidates are, they will inevitably be defeated by us in the race,” Kantaria said. 

Meanwhile unlike her husband Saakashvili, who is wanted for several alleged offenses in Georgia, Roelofs did not leave Georgia when ex-president Saakashvili moved to Ukraine after his presidential term expired in Georgia in 2013, shortly after the GD coalition defeated UNM in the 2012 Parliamentary Elections. 

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