Become an OC Media Member

Support independent journalism in the Caucasus: Join today

Become a member

Gvaramia and Melia present new opposition party

11 March 2024
Nika Melia (left) and Nika Gvaramia (right) at the unveling of their new party, Ahali. Screengrab via Mtavari Arkhi.

Nika Melia, the former chair of the United National Movement (UNM), Georgia’s largest opposition party, and Nika Gvaramia, the founder of opposition TV channel Mtavari Arkhi, have officially unveiled their new political party, Ahali (‘New’).

Announcing the party’s formation, Gvaramia stated that his and Melia’s party would fight for changes in Georgia ‘in new ways’.

‘We will change [it] because we know the struggle, we know the price of integrity, we know the price of serving the motherland, we know how to overcome difficulties and how to respond to challenges’, Gvaramia said at the party’s presentation on Monday.

Explaining the logo’s colours, Gvaramia said that green represented newness and a new beginning, orange: energy, progress, and hope, and white: purity, innocence, and happiness.

Ahali will be participating in October’s parliamentary elections under the number four.

Gvaramia emphasised that the party would ‘only move forward’ and ‘not look back’. Both of the party’s co-founders have served as UNM MPs and held government positions. Gvaramia served as Georgia’s Deputy Prosecutor General, Justice Minister, and Education Minister between 2007 and 2009.

Melia stated that the party’s launch had followed three months of discussions between its co-founders, and similarly noted that the party aimed to distance itself from the past.


‘The future is our common goal, victory is our common goal, not revenge’, said Melia. ‘Innovation is our goal, our goal is to find something new, not to settle with the past’.

Both noted that the founding congress of the party would take place in the near future, with Gvaramia suggesting it might be held in April.

Gvaramia and Melia are set to be co-chairs of the party, but the Mtavari Arkhi founder stated that the party’s political council would have primary decision-making power, and added that the council’s chair had not yet been chosen.

Neither ruling party nor opposition politicians have commented on the party since its founding on Monday afternoon.

A few hours before the presentation of the party, UNM MP Ana Tsitlidze commented that ‘cloning’ the UNM ‘has not worked for anyone for 12 years’, and that she did not expect Ahali to detract from the UNM’s votes.

A UNM split

Nika Melia served as UNM chair from 2020 until 2022, leaving the party a year after he was voted out as party leader. Reports at the time claimed that this related in part to Melia’s conflicts with party founder Mikheil Saakashvili, who has been serving a prison sentence in Georgia since October 2020.

On leaving the UNM in December 2023, Melia announced that he would form his own political party.

In the months since, there has been public speculation regarding Melia’s plans: whether he intended to form a party, who with, and whether he intended to participate in the October 2024 parliamentary elections.

On Melia’s exit from the party, several hundred people left the UNM, the majority of whom openly stated that they intended to work with Nika Melia.

Gvaramia announced in December 2023 that he would form a political group, and in February announced that he would transfer his shares in Mtavari Arkhi to his wife, as owning stakes in the channel would be ‘incompatible with the party position that I will hold in the coming days’.

[Read more: Gvaramia transfers Mtavari Arkhi shares to wife in move to politics]

In May 2022, Gvaramia was sentenced to three and a half years in prison on charges of abuse of power and embezzlement while serving as director of Rustavi 2. The arrest was widely condemned as being politically motivated, and Gvaramia was pardoned by President Salome Zurabishvili in June 2023.

Read in Armenian on CivilNet.
The website is undergoing scheduled maintenance
This is default text for notification bar