Former president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili has released a letter from Rustavi Prison No. 12 earlier today and asked emigrants to return to Georgia ‘for a week, by the end of the month’ to take part in a ‘decisive battle.’
Saakashvili says that ‘active public involvement is crucial’ for the United National Movement (UNM) to win the municipal election run-offs on October 30 and for his release from prison.
Daily rallies in all cities of Georgia are necessary to force the Georgian Dream government to release me. They (the GD) are doing their utmost to keep me behind bars,” Saakashvili wrote.
UNM member Levan Bezhashvili also said earlier today that the party will organise rallies in all cities of Georgia and demand Saakashvili’s release.
Saakashviili says he returned to Georgia after eight years in political exile to support his UNM party in the October 2 municipal elections and replace the current Georgian Dream government, as he says, via snap parliamentary elections.
Both Saakashvili and UNM had expected the ruling party to receive less than 43% of the vote in the proportional part of the municipal elections, which, per the EU-mediated agreement of April 2021 (from which GD withdrew ahead of elections), would force the ruling party to accept snap parliamentary elections.
However, GD received almost 47% of the vote, and won the majority of mayoral and majoritarian seats.
The election run-offs in 20 of 64 mayoral and majoritarian constituencies will take place on October 30, in which the GD and UNM candidates will compete in 17 constituencies.
UNM claims that it has the chance to win all the constituencies, while the GD states that all of its candidates will win.
Saakashvili was detained in Tbilisi on October 1 and has been on the hunger strike since then.