Opposition Tbilisi mayor candidate: conscripts will no longer work as janitors and security guards
According to Nika Melia, chairman of the United National Movement and Tbilisi mayor candidate, if the opposition wins, the municipality will no longer participate in the conscription of young people who are guarding administrative buildings.
“You know that the Ministry of Defense allegedly recruits conscripts into the army, but in reality it makes them work as janitors and security guards of the administrative buildings. All this is organized by the municipalities, including the City Hall, various boards. You yourself became a governor for a year and a half and I could not understand what the Mtatsminda district administration was doing to bring a young man to the board by force, under stress, force them to write a statement and send it somewhere to some ministry, in this case I mean the Ministry of Defense”, Melia said.
According to him, the defense capacity in Georgia should be strengthened and the budget of the Ministry of Defense should be increased, but this is not a matter of the municipality. Therefore, the City Hall and the boards “will not contribute to the distortion of life for young people”.
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According to Zura Japaridze, the leader of Girchi – More Freedom and Tbilisi vice mayor candidate, if an opposition coalition comes to power in the city, the system will not allow conscripts to be called up for compulsory military service:
“Compulsory military service has nothing to do with strengthening defense capability of the country. Modern defense does is not built upon the number of people signed to the army by force. It is built of knowledgeable people, qualifications and professionalism. These are young people who volunteer to join the army.Everything else has nothing to do with defense. […] Nika Melia’s idea was that if we came to power in the city, we would not allow our system to torment young people and ruin their lives. Young people can no longer be hired as free workers by the Tbilisi municipality”.
On October 2, local self-government elections were held in Georgia. The population should have elected 64 mayors and 2,044 deputies to the City Council. Second round of elections has been scheduled in several major self-governing cities (including Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Rustavi, Zugdidi and Telavi) for 30 October.
The candidate who receives more than 50% of the vote in the mayoral election will win. At the same time, as a result of the electoral reform, a 40% threshold is applied for the election of majoritarian members to the City Council.
This is the eighth self-government election in independent Georgia. These elections, in their significance, have been described as a referendum by the opposition.