United National Movement (Georgia)
|European affiliation||European People's Party (observer)|
|International affiliation||International Democrat Union|
|Seats in Parliament||
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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 has 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. 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 is called the National Movement – Democrats.
Since the 2012 elections the UNM has suffered several defections of its parliament members to new parties. Most notably the creation of the libertarian New Political Center — Girchi by former UNM member of parliament Zurab Japaridze and three others.
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- 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
- Nodia, Ghia; Pinto Scholtbach, Álvaro (2006), The Political Landscape of Georgia: Political Parties: Achievements, Challenges and Prospects, Eburon, p. 123
- Key Facts and Procedures on Govt No-Confidence Vote, Sought by UNM
- Sydney Morning Herald, Shevardnadze quits to avoid bloodshed