Ex-members of Free Democrats support ruling party in election run-off

Former members of the opposition Free Democrats said they were part of the coalition which fought against the United National Movement’s ruling methods. Photo by ipress.ge.
Agenda.ge, 25 Oct 2016 - 15:18, Tbilisi,Georgia

Three former members of opposition Free Democrats party are calling on their supporters to vote for the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party majoritarian candidates on October 30 in the second round of Parliamentary Elections. 

Free Democrats party failed to gain enough support and overcome the minimum five percent threshold in the initial Parliamentary Election vote, which led to members David Onoprishvili, Zurab Abashidze and Giorgi Tsagareishvili stepping down from the party. 

Today the trio explained why they now urged their supporters to support GDDG candidates in the next round of voting.

In several days there will be the second round of elections, where mainly candidates from opposition United National Movement (UNM) and the ruling party are challenging one another. In this situation there is no alternative and we urge those people who supported us to vote for ruling party candidates,” Onoprishvili said. 

He noted Free Democrats was a member of the Georgian Dream coalition, founded prior to the 2012 Parliamentary Elections specifically to end the nine-year rule of UNM. 

In 2012 we jointly made a decision to [establish the GD coalition and] send United National Movement to the opposition or make the party quit politics,” Onoprishvili added. 

The three ex-Free Democrats members quit the party on October 12. Photo by Free Democrats press office. 

After the announcement, UNM member Sergi Kapanadze dedicated a Facebook post to the statement, calling it "shameful”. 

He said he was happy the people "who failed to reveal principled position and express support to the opposition” wouldn’t be in the future Parliament of Georgia. 

  • Georgia has a mixed electoral system where 77 lawmakers are elected through the proportional party list voting, while the remaining 73 are elected via majoritarian race. 
  • After the first round of elections the ruling party gained 67 seats in the 150-member legislative body, gained through both majoritarian and party list voting, while UNM won 27 seats. 
  • The second round of elections will be held in 50 majoritarian districts. Of these 50 districts, candidates from UNM and the ruling party will directly oppose one another in 44 districts. 
  • Earlier UNM urged parties that failed to overcome the election threshold to support UNM candidates in the election run-off. 
  • After the first round seven key members, including Free Democrats leader Irakli Alasania, quit the party.