Nika Melia, the Chair of the opposition United National Movement party, on Tuesday said “certain processes” taking place amid ongoing controversies in the party were “inspired, planned and organised from beginning to end” by Vano Merabishvili, the former UNM Government Interior Minister and David Kezerashvili, the former UNM Defence Minister and now private TV channel owner.
Melia characterised the ongoing intra-party standoff between two camps - ahead of an election for the position of its Chair - as a “civilisational struggle” that was taking place as a “confrontation between old and new approaches”.
The head of UNM also added he had ended his relationship with Kezerashvili after becoming convinced that the former Defence Minister “wanted to informally rule” the opposition party.
When I became convinced that he [Kezerashvili] had the desire to bring informal influence into the party, when he showed the ambition to see some people as leaders of the party while others are not - and [the idea that] there should be someone in a leading political position in the party - I ended my relationship with him”, Melia said.
Melia also claimed the recent release of an illegal audio recording allegedly featuring him had been planned by Merabishvili with the aim of making an impact on the race for the UNM Chair position.
Now I have a reasonable suspicion - not even a guess, I know for sure - that this has been planned by Vano Merabishvili. He believed that by releasing these recordings, he could influence the [intra-party] election results”, Melia concluded.
Nugzar Tsiklauri, a member of UNM, on Wednesday accused Merabishvili of an ongoing “shadowy interference” in developments in the party and domestic politics in general.
Giorgi Rurua, the founder and shareholder of Mtavari Arkhi TV, on Tuesday alleged possible ties between Merabishvili and Russian special services, and claimed Merabishvili had blamed former President Mikheil Saakashvili for starting the 2008 war with Russia in private conversations with foreign partners.