Ruling party head claims ex-PM Gakharia asked for money in exchange to not run for Tbilisi mayor

GD head Irakli Kobakhidze (L) stated earlier that former PM Giorgi Gakharia was allied with the United National Movement opposition while in office., 02 Sep 2021 - 13:04, Tbilisi,Georgia

The head of the ruling Georgian Dream party (GD) Irakli Kobakhidze says that former PM Giorgi Gakharia, who was nominated for Tbilisi mayor yesterday by his For Georgia political party, ‘has made an attempt with the use of a mediator to receive financial support from us for his refusal to run for Tbilisi mayor.’ 

Of course we dismissed the offer. Our candidate for Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze told him that he would win the race in the first round of elections,” Kobakhidze said. 

Kaladze says that Gakharia has phoned him several times and requested a meeting with him. 

Gakharia told me that he was ready to meet with me anyplace I would choose. We met at the Tbilisi City Hall office and he just told me that he had plans to run for Tbilisi mayor and that he did not want me to learn about it on TV,” Kaladze said. 

Gakharia has responded that what Kobakhidze said on money is ‘a lie’ and that the GD leadership is ‘doing their utmost to discredit’ him and his party. 

Gakharia resigned back in February 2021 because of controversies with the ruling party on the arrest of the head of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party Nika Melia. 

In May he founded the For Georgia political party. 

GD party members and the founder of the party Bidzina Ivanishvili have called Gakharia a ‘traitor.’ 

Now ruling party members say that through running for Tbilisi mayor Gakharia is trying to help Melia win the race.