United National Movement (Georgia)

United National Movement
ერთიანი ნაციონალური მოძრაობა
Leader Mikheil Saakashvili (in exile)
Leader of women's wing Tina Bokuchava
Founded October 2001 (2001-10)
Headquarters Tbilisi
Ideology Neo-Bonapartism[1]
Liberal Conservatism
Political position Centre-right[3]
National affiliation Strength is in Unity
European affiliation European People's Party (observer)
International affiliation International Democrat Union
Colours      Red and      White
Seats in Parliament
6 / 150

United National Movement (Georgian: ერთიანი ნაციონალური მოძრაობა, Ertiani Natsionaluri Modzraoba, ENM) is the main opposition political party in the nation of Georgia.


UNM was founded in October 2001 by Mikheil Saakashvili. It is a reformist party and favors closer ties with NATO and the European Union, as well as the restoration of Tbilisi's control over the separatist self-proclaimed states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Originally a center-left party, it moved its position to center-right since the Rose Revolution, and combines political, economic and cultural liberalism with civic nationalism. Its main political priorities also include improving social services to the poor, the movement's main base of support; fighting corruption and reducing administrative barriers for doing business. Leaders of UNM label themselves as liberal-conservative and in September 2007, the party became an observer member of the center-right European People's Party (EPP).

Saakashvili and other Georgian opposition leaders formed a "United People's Alliance" in November 2003 to bring together the United National Movement, the United Democrats, the Union of National Solidarity and the youth movement "Kmara" in a loose alliance against the government of President Eduard Shevardnadze.

The United National Movement and its partners in the opposition played a central role in the November 2003 political crisis that ended in the forced resignation of President Shevardnadze. The opposition parties strongly contested the outcome of the November 2, 2003 parliamentary elections, which local and international observers criticised for numerous irregularities.[5] After the fall of Shevardnadze, the party joined forces with the United Democrats and the Union of National Solidarity to promote Saakashvili as the principal opposition candidate in the presidential elections of January 4, 2004, which he won by an overwhelming majority. The United National Movement and the United Democrats amalgamated on February 5, 2004; the UNM retained its name but its parliamentary faction was called the National Movement – Democrats.

In the 2008 parliamentary election, the UNM won 59.1% of the vote. However, in the 2012 election they fell to 40.3%, becoming the second largest party in parliament after Georgian Dream.

After the 2012 elections the UNM suffered several defections of its parliament members to new parties. Including that of the libertarian New Political Center — Girchi by former UNM member of parliament Zurab Japaridze and three others.[6] Some believe these defections were encouraged by the ruling Georgian Dream Coalition in order to weaken its principal opposition.[7]

Party received 27.11% of the vote on Georgian parliamentary election, 2016. Shortly afterwards, the party split on 12 January 2017, as a result of a conflict between Davit Bakradze, former Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava, their supporters, and members of the party loyal to former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili. Saakashvili had rejected the party's decision to enter parliament after the elections and had furthermore opposed the initiative of party members to appoint a chairman in his place, a position which was officially vacant due to Saakashvili's expatriate status. On the day of the split Ugulava stated ""One person is responsible for dismantling the party – the person, who established the party." A majority of the UNM's electoral list defected to European Georgia, leaving the UNM with six members in parliament.

Electoral performance

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Position Government
2003 Mikhail Saakashvili 345,197 18.1
32 / 150
32 3rd Opposition
2004 Nino Burjanadze 1,027,070 67.0
135 / 150
103 1st Yes
2008 Davit Bakradze 1,050,237 59.18
119 / 150
16 1st Yes
2012 Vano Merabishvili 873,233 40.34
65 / 150
54 2nd Opposition
2016 Davit Bakradze 477,143 27.11
27 / 150
38 2nd Opposition

Further reading

  • Ghia Nodia, Álvaro Pinto Scholtbach: The Political Landscape of Georgia: Political Parties: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects. Eburon, Delft 2006, ISBN 90-5972-113-6
  • Lincoln A. Mitchell: Uncertain Democracy: U.S. Foreign Policy and Georgia's Rose Revolution. University of Pennsylvania Press 2008, ISBN 0-8122-4127-4

See also


  1. Toal, Gerard (30 March, 2017). Near Abroad: Putin, the West and the Contest over Ukraine and the Caucasus. OUP USA. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. "Georgia: political parties and the EU" (PDF). europarl.europa.eu. Briefing European Parliamentary Research Service. Retrieved 16 April 2018.
  3. Nodia, Ghia; Pinto Scholtbach, Álvaro (2006), The Political Landscape of Georgia: Political Parties: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects, Eburon, p. 123
  4. Key Facts and Procedures on Govt No-Confidence Vote, Sought by UNM
  5. Sydney Morning Herald, Shevardnadze quits to avoid bloodshed
  6. http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=28803
  7. "Georgia: Proposed Reform Could Tilt Electoral Field Toward Incumbents", Eurasianet, 10 April 2017
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