Detained ex-president Saakashvili calls on opposition to ‘mobilise’ for run-offs

  • Saakashvili was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison in absentia back in 2018 for abuse of authority. Photo: AFP.

Agenda.ge, 4 Oct 2021 - 14:24, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, who was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1, has called for a ‘high-level of mobilisation and a more powerful attack’ for the mayoral election runoffs in 20 of 64 election constituencies on October 30. 

In a letter he posted from the Rustavi Prison No. 12, Saakashvili said that the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party head Nika Melia ‘performed a miracle in Tbilisi,’ where incumbent mayor Kakha Kaladze was unable to defeat him in the first round of the elections. 

Kaladze and Melia will compete for the post in an election runoff at the end of the month.

Special congratulations to your father,” Saakashvili told Melia, referring to Anzor Melia’s receiving more votes in the mayoral race in Zugdidi, western Georgia, than the ruling Georgian Dream candidate. 

Saakashvili said that ‘there is no time for revenge against anybody,’ and that all ‘genuine opposition parties’ should stand together in the run-offs to defeat the ruling party. 

Saakashvili, who is a citizen of Ukraine and currently chairs the Executive Committee of the Ukrainian National Reforms Council, has returned to Georgia after eight years to help his UNM party to win the municipal elections. 

The UNM and Saakashvili claimed that, per the April 2021 EU-mediated agreement, if the GD received less than 43 per cent of the vote in the municipal elections, they would have to accept the holding of early parliamentary elections. 

However, the GD received almost 47 per cent of the vote in the elections. 

Saakashvili was convicted and sentenced to six years in prison in absentia back in 2018 for abuse of authority. 

The GD authorities say that he will be able to leave the country only after he serves his prison sentence, while the Ukrainian president vows to take all steps for his (Saakashvili’s) return to Ukraine.

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