Staff changes in UNM: Melia no longer head of party’s political council

Melia also stated that he wants to see people in the UNM ‘who used to stay away from the party.’ Photo: video grab., 11 Jan 2022 - 13:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

The largest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), has made several staff changes, including the replacement of the party’s political council head Nika Melia with Koba Nakopia, who has been the executive secretary of the UNM since 2019. 

Melia remains in the post of party chairman, and will lead the UNM Tbilisi organisation, replacing Zaal Udumashvili.

Melia stated that the changes in the party are necessary due to the challenges the UNM is facing, adding that he wanted to make reforms last year, but failed due to various events such as his arrest on February 23 and former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s clandestine return to the country in October of 2021 from eight years in political exile.

The Head of the UNM was arrested for incitement of violence during the June 2019 protests in Tbilisi, which were sparked by the presence of Russian MPs in the Georgian parliament

Now I consider it an inevitable necessity for the party to significantly change both its agenda and even its content, and to be much more thorough for society to know what we are fighting for and what we want,” Melia said. 

UNM member and former official Petre Tsiskarishvili will take the post of secretary general of the party. 

Nakopia, who has been a UNM member since 2008, was Senaki mayoral candidate in local self-government elections last year, receiving 47% of the vote. 

Nakopia stated that the changes in the party were due to a need for ‘proper management.’

Ruling Georgian Dream party MP Mikheil Sarjveladze says that despite the changes, the UNM will remain ‘the main destructive force of Georgian politics.’

I do not think that these changes should inspire great expectations in the society,” Sarjveladze said. 

Melia also stated that he wants to see people in the UNM ‘who used to stay away from the party.’