UNM members against ex-Interior Minister Merabishvili’s return to party, citing ‘moral issues’ as reason

Former UNM top official Vano (Ivane) Merabishvili (L) says he was a political prisoner. 

Agenda.ge, 18 Sep 2020 - 11:42, Tbilisi,Georgia

One of the leaders of the United National Movement opposition (UNM) Nika Melia says that one of the former most influential figures of the party, former Interior and Prime Minister of Georgia, Vano Merabishvili, will not be on the UNM’s party list for the October 31 parliamentary elections, stating that Merabishvili has no ‘moral right’ to be in politics. 

Melia told TV Pirveli that ‘I won’t remain in the party if Merabishvili joins.’

Melia praised Merabishvili’s anti-criminal efforts while in politics. However, he said that many of his actions were ‘unconstitutional’ which played their role in the defeat of the UNM back in 2012 parliamentary elections. 

He said that Merabishvili should have resigned and left politics following the brutal murder of Sandro Girgvliani in 2006, involving Merabishvili and and his wife.

Merabishvili left prison earlier this year after serving almost seven years, stating that he was returning to politics and ‘guaranteed’ the end of the current Georgian Dream leadership. 

Merabishvili left prison in February 2020.

Standing outside Matrosovi prison Merabishvili told the media that the opposition was united around key demands. However, his close friends were in different opposition parties

  • Merabishvili was detained in May 2013, a year after the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the United National Movement in parliamentary elections, and has been serving a sentence for several convictions, including for the brutal dispersal of an opposition rally on May 26, 2011, the murder case of Sandro Girgvliani and the attacking of the opposition MP Valeri Gelashvili.
  • The sentence for the charges was six years and nine months in total, as the charges were merged.  
  • Merabishvili may face further charges for the raid on Imedi TV in 2007 and the dispersal of another rally on November 7, 2007.
  • The UNM says Merabishvili was a political prisoner, which has not been confirmed by the European Court of Human Rights.