Both the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and the opposition are sceptical that the country’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, who currently chairs the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Reforms Council, will keep his recent promise and return to Georgia for the October 2 municipal elections.
They say that Saakashvili, who is a citizen of Ukraine, has made such vows many times over the last nine years.
Head of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party Irakli Kobakhidze has stated that even Saakashvili’s pledge that he will return, ‘which, of course, is not serious’ has boosted the GD’s rating by at least seven per cent.
GD officials say Saakshvili would be arrested as soon as he entered the country as he faces several criminal charges, including the violent dispersal of anti-government mass protests on November 7, 2007, a raid on TV channel Imedi by riot police and the illegal take-over of the property.
Saakashvili says that upcoming municipal elections are crucial for the country. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Sgenda.ge.
Leader of Lelo opposition party, former parliament speaker under GD David Usupashvili says that Saakashvili has been successfully used by the ruling party to ‘frighten the voters by the return of Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) party to power to win elections.’
Leader of the Girchi - More Freedom party Zurab Zaparidze says that ‘at least Saakashvili is playing a lottery’ ahead of the elections ‘as even promising the return can make an influence on the electoral process.’
Girchi MP Iago Khvichia said that he is doubtful of Saakashvili’s return.
If he really returns I will wait for him in a Porsche car (which I have not now) and will accompany him to parliament,” Khvichia said.
Unlike other opposition parties, UNM members say that the government is ‘very much afraid of Saakashvili’s return.’