Wounded Marneuli candidate feeling better

Jayhun Choydarov was shot during his campaign in the recent municipal elections in Georgia

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Georgian Dream candidate Jayhun Choydarov, who was shot on 19 October in Kizilhajilo village, Marneuli region, says it happened because of a political dispute, which he would not explain.

“I have one person on my mind who might have done it,” he said Wednesday in an interview from his bed in Marneuli’s GEO Hospital. “I reported everything to the police, and they are questioning him now. I know it didn’t happen because of any personal matter.”

Police questioned Choydarov on Tuesday for more than seven hours.

Five men were injured, Choydarov most seriously, when a gunman fired more than 20 shots at them as they were outside eating about 60 meters from the local polling station. Two days later on 21 October, voters selected Choydarov to head the town government.

He suffered wounds to his abdomen. He doesn’t know when doctors will let him leave the hospital.

“Now I feel better,” he said. “I can stand up and walk.” He plans to begin his new job as soon as he gets out of the hospital.

Jayhun Choydarov’s home district, Marneuli, is located in the south of Georgia near the borders with Armenia and Azerbaijan. The population is predominantly ethnically Azerbaijani. Choydarov is a member of the Georgian Dream party, which won a

landslide victory

in the municipal elections held 21 October.

This is not the first time violence has occurred in Kizilhajilo during elections. During parliamentary elections in October 2016, a

fight broke out

between supporters of Georgian Dream, which had put forward an ethnic Georgian candidate, and the former ruling party, the United National Movement, whose candidate was an ethnic Azerbaijani. Over 200 local residents took part in the brawl and five policemen were hospitalized.

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