Tbilisi Mayor to be elected end of October - Canadian sheriff among possible candidates
The Georgian President, Giorgi Margvelashvili, has announced a preliminary date for holding the local self-governmental elections. The elections are scheduled for the end of the last week of October.
The precise date will be announced in August. It will be set by the country’s President, in consultation with the Prime Minister.
The President explained the reason for setting an approximate date for holding the election by the fact that political parties will thus have a chance to properly plan their campaign schedules and budgets.
Tbilisi’s mayor, as well as the heads of 11 cities and districts, will be elected in October. The elections of the local self-government consultative body, Sakrebulo (City Council), will be held parallel to the mayoral election.
Under the set rules, election campaigns can commence 60 days before the election date.
Two political parties have already officially nominated their candidates for mayor of Tbilisi.
The European Georgia party (which unites ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s former team-members who quitted Saakashvili’s party in January 2017) was the first to nominate its mayoral candidate, Elene Khoshtaria, the ex-Deputy State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, back in May this year.
Saakashvili’s party, the United National Movement (UNM), also nominated its candidate, Zaal Udumashvili, the Rustavi 2 TV anchor, yesterday. Although he is a newcomer in Georgian politics, he is a well-known figure in Georgia due to his 25-year career on TV.
The ruling party is expected to officially name its candidate only on 1 July. It is most likely that Kakha Kaladze, the Vice-Premier and former football celebrity, will be nominated as the ruling party’s mayoral candidate. Last weekend, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili wished him success with his new political plans.
Aleko Elisashvili, an independent member of the Tbilisi Sakrebulo, is also expected to join the election race. As Elisashvili stated earlier, he would stand in election only as an independent candidate.
Another possible, and most unexpected candidate for the mayor’s post is Merab Tabidze, who currently serves as a police sheriff in the Canadian town of Calgary.
The Canadian sheriff voiced his intention to stand for mayor in his recent interview with Radio Liberty’s Georgian service. It will be quite possible, provided that the sheriff, who has been a citizen of Canada for 26 years already, manages to reinstate his Georgian citizenship.