Ruling party: ‘no expectations’ that President Zurabishvili may pardon Saakashvili

The opposition claims that President Salome Zurabishvili has become critical of the ruling party and the party is afraid she may pardon ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili., 29 Sep 2021 - 15:33, Tbilisi,Georgia

The ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party says that ‘there are no expectations’ that President Salome Zurabishvili may pardon ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili who pledges to return to Georgia from Ukraine on the evening of the October 2 municipal election day. 

President Zurabishvili, who was elected to the post back in 2018 with the support of the GD, has recently criticised the government for not taking the EU loan and said earlier this week that a coalition government is necessary for Georgia. 

Head of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party Nika Melia says that ‘as it seems the GD no longer trusts Zurabishvili’ and that the ruling party ‘allows the possibility’ Zurabishvili may pardon Saakashvili if he returns. 

Melia also claimed that the country’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office is likely to bring new charges against Saakashvili ‘to prevent his release’ if Zurabishvili really pardons him. 

Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili has called Saakashvili 'coward who has made pledges on return 18 times.' Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

The GD has dismissed reports on new charges.

Member of the UNM Roman Gotsiridze says that Saakashvili ‘will go to prison when he returns. However, he will have to stay there for a short period of time.’

The Georgian people and the international community will not allow his arrest on political grounds,” Gotsiridze said. 

Saakashvili who served as the country’s third president from 2004 to 2013 left Georgia back in 2013 after the GD came to power in 2012. 

He faces several criminal charges such as the violent dispersal of anti-government mass protests on November 7, 2007, raiding of TV channel Imedi by riot police,illegal take-over of the property and other crimes.  

Saakashvili has already been convicted in absentia for two cases, while trials in two other cases are still in progress.