Opposition leader proposes primaries among “pro-European” parties ahead of parliamentary race

Giorgi Vashadze, the chair of the Strategy Agmashenebeli opposition party, has called on the opposition for “unity”. Photo: Giorgi Vashadze’s facebook page 

Agenda.ge, 03 Nov 2022 - 11:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

Giorgi Vashadze, the chair of the Strategy Agmashenebeli opposition party, on Wednesday proposed holding primary voting among “pro-European” opposition groups with the objective of identifying the most popular figures that would comprise a joint list of candidates for the opposition in the 2024 parliamentary elections in the country. 

Pointing to the “utmost need” of unity for defeating the ruling Georgian Dream authorities in the elections, the party chair claimed the preliminary voting to reveal the “most competitive” opposition candidates could also form a “shadow cabinet” for the future government. 

In their reactions to the proposal, a majority of the opposition parties suggested they required “coordination more than primaries” in the elections, noting it was “too early” to push the idea of primaries. 

Responding to the calls, the United National Movement and Lelo opposition parties said they were focused on strengthening their parties to boost the number of voters. 

Leaders of the UNM - the largest opposition group - also said its members were expected to win all primaries due to the party’s “high rating” and the move carried “no meaning” for other opposition participants. 

Talakvadze said that the "radical opposition is disintegrating". Photo: Archil Talakvadze's facebook page. 

In his comments, Iago Khvichia, an MP for the Girchi - More Freedom opposition party, said the primaries could show the “real rating” of individual parties, claiming each of them had “exaggerated images” of the actual support they enjoyed in the public. 

Opposition parties and figures dislike one another so much that they are unable to sit down and discuss even the questions that are in their common interests. That is why the parties are in need of public support - through the primaries for instance - to determine their real ratings”, Khvichia said. 

In the ruling party’s reaction to the proposal, Georgian Dream MP Archil Talakvadze said the process “confirms the opposition, especially the radical wing of the opposition, is disintegrating”. 

Talakvadze said the opposition parties were “trying to offer something new” to voters ahead of the elections in order to “cover their harmful and anti-state decisions” on Georgia’s European Union membership candidate status, in reference to the opposition’s refusal to join parliamentary working groups for fulfilling the EU conditions for the objective.