United National Movement launches electoral campaign

UNM has officially launched its election campaign. Photo by Droanews.
Agenda.ge, 09 May 2014 - 12:46, Tbilisi,Georgia

United National Movement (UNM) political party has officially launched its election campaign with its leaders telling supporters the party is "experienced, energetic, renewed and reformed”.

The campaign rally was held yesterday at Tbilisi’s Sports Palace. The venue was dominated by Georgian, European Union (EU) and Ukrainian flags, and opened with the EU anthem, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

Member of Parliament (MP) Giorgi Vashadze spoke first at the rally and said there was "no stepping back, we have to win”.

He mentioned the detention of the party’s secretary general Vano Merabishvili and three other UNM candidates, who have been sentenced to preliminary imprisonment but will still run in the elections.

Vashadze also sent greetings to the UNM chairman and ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, and said Saakashvili was "now in Ukraine, reinforcing Georgia’s positions there”.

Parliamentary minority leader Davit Bakradze also took to the stage and urged all candidates to "make a strenuous effort to win in the forthcoming self-government elections”.

In his speech Bakradze called on the authorities to lower income tax to 15 percent; remove fuel taxes and introduce a "five-year moratorium on imposing new economic regulations”.

"If the Government does not accept it, we will implement it when we return to power through the elections,” Bakradze said. He added UNM had an "experience of building the state”, as well as an experience of learning from mistakes.

Ousted Tbilisi Mayor and head of the Tbilisi branch of UNM, Gigi Ugulava, said UNM would succeed in the elections.

"They will never succeed in crushing one of the most patriotic powers in our country,” he told the audience.

"We fight not for revenge… We should forget revenge once and for all,” Ugulava said. He is currently standing trial in relation to a number of criminal charges, which he denied were politically motivated.

UNM Tbilisi Mayoral candidate Nika Melia told the assembly now was an important time to stand behind UNM as the election phase was entering its "decisive stage”.

Melia said he was eager to challenge Georgian Dream Tbilisi Mayoral candidate Davit Narmania in televised debates.

"I challenge all my rivals to televised debates, especially governmental candidate Narmania. I’m confident we’ll manage to present our plans to Tbilisi residents in a dignified debate and enable the residents to make an acknowledged choice. Tbilisi deserves this,” Melia said.