Davit Usupashvili, April 28, 2017. Photo: Facebook/David Usupashvili Official

Usupashvili Returns to Politics, Offers Fresh Start

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The FINANCIAL — Davit Usupashvili, parliamentary chairman in 2012-2016 and the former leader of the Republican Party, announced that he and his teammates would establish a new centrist political party for the upcoming municipal elections in October, 2017.

The former parliamentary chairman ended months of speculation about his future political plans with a press conference on April 28, saying he was ready to start a new political party, “uniting rational and necessary formulas” from both sides of the political spectrum, according to Civil.Ge.

“This won’t be a yet another political party, this will be a new party by its nature, form and rules of establishment,” Usupashvili stated at the press conference. “This will be a party, which will throw away the [political] dictionary … containing specifically selected words aimed at splitting, insulting, destroying, disgracing everyone and everything,” he added.

According to Usupashvili, the new political party plans to “actively participate in the 2017 municipal elections,” and “to win the next parliamentary election and form a coalition government.”

Three Point Offer

Usupashvili plans, as outlined in his “three point offer” to the society, rest on three pillars: countering the “destructive political environment,” forging a “civic partnership” for strengthening statehood and forming a new political force “with novel approaches.”

“The root cause for the country’s problems is neither an individual political leader, nor an individual political party, but the destructive, anti-state political environment, which makes every political leader – good, bad, average, old, new, future – doomed to fail,” Usupashvili’s three point offer reads.

The destructive political environment, according to Usupashvili, manifests itself in single-party rule, societal divisions, undue concentration of power, negative political practice, “façade democracy,” and flawed institutional governance.

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For correcting these “distorted vectors of political life and ending the post-soviet era,” Davit Usupashvili deems it necessary to start “a civic partnership or the cooperation based on mutually beneficial, equal and long-term agreement,” as well as to establish a political new force, which is “competent and responsible, and which rests on national and European cultural-political grounds.”

The party, according to the three point offer, will be based on “the citizens, who are united by ideas, vision and responsibility, and for whom, improving the [country’s] social-political environment is a necessity, same as putting their own households in order.”

The new party will also counter the imposed stereotypes that “liberty and patriotism are incompatible notions and that Europeanness is achieved at the expense of Orthodox Christianity or that Orthodox Christianity contradicts Europeanness.”

“The party will run the election campaign based on a comprehensive program for managing the country, with shadow cabinet, alternative budgetary bill, and not on several leaders and electoral slogans,” the three point offer also reads.

Davit Usupashvili’s Bio

Davit Usupashvili, who led the Republican Party in 2005-2013, served as the parliamentary chairman in 2012-2016 under the Georgian Dream coalition.

The Republican Party ran independently in 2016 Parliamentary Elections and failed to enter the parliament with just 1.55 percent of nationwide votes.

He quit the party soon after the election citing “political, value-based, and tactical” disagreements within the party leadership regarding the political future of the Republican Party. Speaking at his special briefing on October 29, Usupashvili pledged to remain “very active in the opposition political field.”

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A recent public opinion poll conducted by the Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization for the International Republican Institute (IRI) put Davit Usupashvili’s personal favorability rating at 48% trailing behind President Giorgi Margvelashvili (67%), Healthcare Minister Davit Sergeenko (65%), Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili (55%) and European Georgia party leader Davit Bakradze (50%).

 

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