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Saakashvili's Party Splits In Georgia, Ex-President Blamed


Davit Bakradze

Davit Bakradze

Leading members of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement announced on January 12 that they are leaving the party and starting a new political force.

Former parliament speaker David Bakradze said the new force will start a "new phase of the fight" against the ruling Georgian Dream party, which was founded by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Former Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava said Saakashvili was responsible for the "dismantling" of the party, charging that the former president "does not radiate leadership anymore."

Twenty-one of 27 lawmakers representing the party in the South Caucasus nation's parliament quit the United National Movement.

The announcement came ahead of a party congress scheduled for January 20.

Saakashvili was swept to power in the peaceful 2003 protests known as the Rose Revolution and served as president of Georgia from 2004-13.

Georgian Dream defeated the United National Movement in a 2012 parliamentary election.

Saakashvili was stripped of Georgian citizenship in 2015 after becoming governor of Ukraine's Odesa region, a job he quit in November 2016.

He is now wanted in Georgia on criminal charges related to his presidency that he says are politically motivated.

Based on reporting by apsny.ge and civil.ge
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