UNM’s Sandra Roelofs refuses to enter Parliament

Sandra Roelofs was number two on the party list of the opposition United National Movement. Photo: Sandra Roelofs/Facebook
Agenda.ge, 08 Nov 2016 - 12:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

Sandra Roelofs, Georgia's ex-First Lady and number two on the party list of the country's main opposition party United National Movement, has refused her mandate as a Member of Parliament (MP).

Roelofs addressed Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) to suspend her parliamentary mandate after announcing she will not enter Georgia's ninth Parliament as a lawmaker despite ranking so highly on United National Movement's (UNM) party list.

After receiving the Reolofs' request, the CEC said it was not up to the agency to make this decision but it was up to Parliament to suspend a MP's mandate. 

Earlier this month Roelofs, the wife of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, refused to participate in the election runoff, where she was UNM’s majoritarian candidate in western Samegrelo region.

Despite her refusal to participate in the second round of the election, she still had a chance to enter Parliament by ranking so high on UNM's party list. Today she confirmed this would not happen.

According to Georgia’s Election Code, if an MP refuses to enter Parliament they should be replaced by the next person on the party list.

Roelofs will presumably be replaced in Parliament by UNM member Giorgi Gviniashvili.

After the October 8 Parliamentary Election and election runoff on October 30, UNM received enough votes to have 27 seats in the new Parliament of Georgia. With Roelofs' stepping down it is expected Gviniashvili, who is ranked number 28 on UNM's party list, will fill the vacant spot.

Gviniashvili has 15 days either to accept or decline the offer. If he turns down the offer to enter Parliament, taking Roelofs’ mandate will be offered to the next person on UNM's party list. If no one takes the position, this MP mandate will be abolished.