The United National Movement [UNM] could have a future in Georgia, American expert on Georgia, Lincoln Mitchell has said while commenting on the 8 October parliamentary elections.
“In the near future, the UNM can play a role as an opposition party and down the road could end up back in power. However to achieve that, they need to distance themselves from Saakashvili who remains very unpopular. Saakashvili, on the other hand needs to play a central role in the UNM or risk becoming irrelevant in Georgia. Therefore, the two are in a dysfunctional relationship that will hurt both of them. By making this election about Saakashvili, the UNM has made themselves less appealing to the Georgian voters, and have jeopardized their future”, Mitchell told the Accent.
As he said, “the UNM has made a very telling tactical mistake in this election”. “The tone of their election campaign has been to call for regime change in Georgia. The problem for them is that while there is some dissatisfaction with the GD, there is no appetite among the Georgian voters for regime change. Therefore, this approach has hurt their chances of doing well. My sense is that they did this because their polling showed that they are largely unable to bring undecided voters into their camp”, Mitchell added.
According to him, “most international observers have indicated that while this election is not perfect, it is going pretty well and is considerably better than other contested parliamentary elections”. “In other words, elections continue to get better in Georgia. I agree with that assessment”, he added.