Saakashvili urges opposition to leave MP seats

  • Third president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, was convicted in Georgia in absentia in 2018 and sentenced to six years in prison. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 1 Nov 2021 - 16:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

Former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, has from prison urged opposition MPs to leave their mandates in protest, stating that the Georgian Dream (GD) government fabricated the results of recent municipal elections. 

Saakashvili, who was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1, a day before Georgian municipal elections, has praised the Lelo opposition party leader Mamuka Khazaradze for his decision to leave the state legislature. 

It will be my advice to all my co-fighters and just patriots of the country to act in the way Khazaradze did,” Saakashvili says. 

Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM), Lelo and several other opposition parties have announced rallies in all big cities of Georgia starting tomorrow to demand the annulment of municipal election results.

They will also demand the release of Saakashvili from prison, who returned to Georgia after eight years in political exile to remove the Georgian Dream (GD) from power. 

Saakashvili’s girlfriend, Ukrainian MP from the ruling Servant of the People party, Liza Yasko, as well as his lawyers, claim that Saakashvili’s health has worsened ‘too much’ due to the long hunger strike, and are demanding his transportation to a civil clinic. 

However, the Georgian Dream government officials say the opposition has plans to create tension at a civil clinic if Saakashvili is brought there. 

Saakashvili’s lawyer, former UNM official and director of the opposition-minded Mtavari Arkhi, Nika Gvaramia, claimed earlier today that the government plans to bring Saakashvili to Gori hospital in central Georgia, 'whence he will be kidnapped by de facto Tskhinvali special unit servicemen.’ 

The Special Penitentiary Service has responded that what Gvaramia said is a 'lie,' and misleading. 

Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili and ruling party MPs say that Saakashvili ‘is blackmailing his party members and staging a show by his hunger strike to cause tension in the country.’ 

They say that ‘all conditions have been ensured for Saakashvili’s comfort’ in prison and that the clinic of Prison No.18 is equipped to ensure all service for the former president. 

Both Saakashvili and the UNM expected that the GD would either lose or receive just a few votes in the municipal elections, and the opposition would therefore be able to demand snap parliamentary polls to ‘change the authorities via elections.’ 

However, the ruling party has won 63 of 64 mayoral constituencies, and received 43% of the vote in the proportional part of the race.