Three opposition parties hold final press conference ahead of polls –



Nika Melia, Tbilisi mayoral candidate of the United National Movement, candidate for the presidency of the Tbilisi city council (Sakrebulo) Elene Khoshtaria from Droa and Zurab Japaridze from Girchi – More freedom tenuous a last press conference today with journalists from Georgian television channels, ahead of the local elections on 2 October.

During the more than half-hour discussion, the opposition leaders took up questions from the media and largely focused on their ambitions to ‘protect’ citizens’ votes on election day, to form a coalition government in 2022, as well as address some of Georgia’s long-standing issues.

The three parties, along with European Georgia, have joined forces in the capital Tbilisi and are calling the local elections a “referendum” on the holding of early parliamentary elections in 2022, as the April 19 agreement negotiated by the EU is considering snap polls next year if GD doesn’t get 43% of the vote on October 2.

Early elections in 2022, coalition government

Tbilisi mayor hopeful Nika Melia said the “Georgian people will conquer the Georgian dream” on election day. “Next year, new parliamentary elections will take place and we, along with other opposition party leaders, will form a coalition government,” he added.

Noting that although Georgia has many problems, Melia argued that the “most complex problem” may have an easy solution. In this case, he forms a coalition government and the people are ready for this change, argued the candidate for mayor of Tbilisi.

Japaridze, for his part, claimed that leaders of the ruling Georgian Dream party convinced international partners in private conversations that they will stick to holding early elections if they do not get 43% of the votes. voice, although they abandoned the chord.

“It is not an obsession of the opposition parties,” he said, saying the holding of early elections was largely intended as a “test of legitimacy” after the departure of key figures from the party. in power in 2021 – then president Bidzina Ivanishvili, who left politics, and then Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, who founded the party and his own.

Acknowledging that the opposition “has lost the habit of” talking about what needs to be done in the country, Khoshtaria said that a coalition government “is needed to start building the country and caring for people in need. poverty, youth, displaced people, infrastructure and economy.

“Protect” citizens’ votes

Party leader Droa said the main guarantee to avoid possible electoral fraud would be that there would be “a lot of people in the polling stations” on October 2. “It doesn’t matter who you vote for,” Khoshtaria said, calling on all citizens to vote.

Japaridze said that in addition to the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, several organizations are working on the parallel compilation of votes this year, adding that the opposition will also coordinate closely with members of its constituency commission to ensure oversight of the vote. electoral process.

“We are trying to be as coordinated as possible,” he noted, stressing that the opposition is more ready to “protect the votes” this year than in the legislative elections of 2020.

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