Ruling party presents Kakha Kaladze as candidate for Tbilisi Mayor

Mayor Kakha Kaladze speaks at his nomination for a second term on the position by the Georgian Dream party in Tbilisi on Tuesday. Screenshot from Georgian Dream livestream., 20 Jul 2021 - 20:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Dream ruling party has officially named Kakha Kaladze, Mayor of Tbilisi, as its candidate for a second term in the position, ahead of the municipal elections set to be held in October.

Government officials including Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and party chair Irakli Kobakhidze spoke at the formal unveiling of Kaladze in the hilltop Mtatsminda Park on Tuesday, praising his work as Tbilisi Mayor over the past four years.

Garibashvili praised Kaladze as "the best mayor", while Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava said he was "absolutely confident" in their candidate's victory in the upcoming municipal elections.

Their addresses preceded Kaladze's own speech at the event, with the current mayor calling for "defeating hate and mutual feud" among the public, following the July 5 violence of right-wing groups against journalists and Tbilisi Pride queer march organisers.

He also said he aimed to create a "legacy for us, our children and their children" with further work as city mayor, while also detailing reforms undertaken by his office since 2017.

Kaladze credited his team for ending "chaotic [construction] development" in the city and the practice of city officials speculating with urban planning quotas for the benefit of development companies, as well as for approving the long-awaited Tbilisi General Development Plan.

The Georgian Dream party member and Deputy Prime Minister also spoke of his plans to continue expanding recreational spaces and "bring life to each district of our city" in the next term on the position in case of his win.

Kaladze's term on the position of city mayor have seen efforts including a multi-sage overhaul of Tbilisi public transportation fleet, renovation and transformation of major streets, and the presentation of a plan to create Tbilisi Central Park on the territory of the old Hippodrome recreational area in the city.