Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has denounced the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party, saying ‘the evil force, which is behind multiple crimes, must end as an organisation and as a party.’
He stated earlier today that former president Mikheil Saakashvili, current head of the UNM Nika Melia, and their party ‘destroyed the country while in office (between 2003 and 2012),’ and that the Georgian Dream government and the Georgian people ‘will not allow them to repeat it.’
I want to apologise to the Georgian people that we have to frequently talk about prisoner Saakashvili. It is an election period and we have to remind the public of the dark period of the former president and the party. After the municipal election run-offs (on October 30) I will not make comments on Saakashvili and will ask the Georgian Dream members to do the same,” Garibashvili said.
He stated that Saakashvili will have to serve his six-year term and accused him once again of ‘misleading and cheating the public.’
Saakashvili is a professional liar. He is trying to show the public that he is on hunger strike. We have already spoken of his hunger strike with honey and fresh juices. Let's finish the run-offs and then fully focus on the issues which trouble our country,” Garibashvili said.
He stated that he is the PM of all Georgians, including supporters of the UNM.
Unfortunately they are standing on the wrong path and we should actively communicate with them to make the nation unanimous on key issues,” Garibashvili said.
“I want to tell everyone that no wars or revolutions will take place in the country,” Garibashvili noted.
He has responded to recently released letter in which foreign diplomats and several MEPs call for Saakashvili’s release, stating that ‘it carries no major importance what some MEPs say, it is more important what the Georgian people say.’
A fair court delivered a verdict against Saakashvili and he was convicted in full accordance with the law. No one will stand against the enforcement of the rule of law,” Garibashvili said.
He stated ‘with full responsibility’ that the Saakashvili issue was not discussed during yesterday’s visit of the US Secretary of Defense.
Head of the Ruling Georgian Dream party Irakli Kobakhidze also said that the municipal election run-offs ‘is an opportunity to finally defeat and end the UNM, the party which has hampered national development for the past 18 years.’
Garibashvili (R) says that Saakashvili was not mentioned during the recent visit of the US Secretary of Defense. Photo: government of Georgia press office.
He said that in the proportional part of the municipal elections, the GD received 47% of the vote and won 44 of 64 mayoral and majoritarian constituencies.
Only twenty constituencies are left in which we need to win,” Kobakhidze said.
In 17 of the 20 constituencies, the GD and the UNM candidates will compete.
Saakashvili claims he returned to Georgia after eight years in political exile to help his UNM party replace the ‘pro-Russian’ Georgian Dream.
He had expected that the UNM would have either won the proportional part of the municipal elections or, at least, prevented the ruling party from receiving 43% of the vote.
Per the April 2021 EU-mediated agreement, from which the GD withdrew in July 2021, the ruling party would have to accept the holding of snap parliamentary elections if it received less than 43% of the vote.
Saakashvili was convicted in Georgia in 2018 in absentia for abuse of authority and was sentenced to six years in prison.
He has also been charged with four other cases.