UNM’s Melia Joins Tbilisi Mayoral Race

Nika Melia, chairperson of the United National Movement, the largest opposition party, entered the race for Mayor of Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital city on July 23. He will join forces with Elene Khoshtaria of Droa political movement who will run for the Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo) chairpersonship.

“Time has come, not only in Tbilisi but in the whole Georgia for coalition governance, based on mutual control and healthy competition,” said Melia standing next to Khoshtaria at the campaign launch that was streamlined on social media. He noted the coalition governance was the most effective way “for development, welfare, and for defeating corruption.”

Melia also said Zurab Japaridze, right-libertarian Girchi-More Freedom party leader will run as vice-mayoral candidate, while the United National Movement will not put forward majoritarian candidates for Tbilisi districts in favor of other opposition outfits.

Giga Bokeria, European Georgia party leader endorsed the candidacies of both Melia and Khoshtaria. It so far remains unclear whether other opposition outfits will be backing Melia-Khoshtaria’s bid for Tbilisi leadership.

Nika Melia fought for Tbilisi mayorship in 2014, losing to Georgian Dream’s Davit Narmania in the runoffs, with Narmania receiving 72.47% of votes and Melia – 27.53%. Elene Khoshtaria ran for Tbilisi Mayorship in 2017, finishing the fourth with 7.11% of votes (28,411).

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