“To the rest” in reality looks like so: in the five largest cities of the country – Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Poti and Rustavi – a second round was required in the mayoral elections. In Batumi and Kutaisi, candidates from the United National Movement Giorgi Kirtadze and Khatia Dekanoidze are leading, in Rustavi David Kirkitadze is 1 percentage point behind the candidate of the ruling Georgian Dream, Nino Latsabidze, in Tbilisi and Poti, victory is non-zero. Saakashvili himself, according to a member of his party Ekaterina Kherkheulidze, especially impressed the results of the first round of elections in Tbilisi, where his closest ally Nika Melia entered the second round together with the incumbent mayor, formerly famous footballer Kakha Kaladze.
Buzaladze is trying to present the situation as if few people in Georgia were interested in the Tbilisi rally. But still, albeit somehow casually, he mentions its number: 50-60 thousand people. But in Tbilisi, together with the suburbs, there are about 1.7 million people, that is, about 3% of the total population of the agglomeration (the total population, including children) attended the rally. For comparison, if in Moscow the same share of the city’s residents went to any action, the number would be more than half a million people.
In general, although after the October 2 elections, the United National Movement is somewhat behind the ruling Georgian Dream, this is least of all like a “swan song”: the main opposition force has clearly strengthened its positions. in key cities. The correspondent is also wrong to call Saakashvili’s supporters nationalists: it is a liberal party with a pro-Western orientation. For party leader Nika Melia, who was arrested on charges of organizing mass violence during protests in 2019, when participants in a spontaneous rally tried to break into parliament, bail introduced European Union.
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