The Lelo - Partnership for Georgia faction, composed of seven opposition MPs, has boycotted parliament's plenary sessions until arrested former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, is brought to a civil clinic to receive ‘proper medical care’ after a 33-day hunger strike.
A member of the faction, former leader of Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) party, Salome Samadashvili, says that Saakashvili’s health is ‘at serious risk, and the attitude of the Georgian Dream (GD) government towards the issue ‘is alarming.’
It will be an eternal black spot on Georgia if something fatal happens to Saakashvili, the former president who undertook genuine, democratic reforms for Georgia and ensured the country’s western future,” Samadashvili said.
Samadashvili has also called on the country’s international partners to react more strongly to the issue, as ‘Georgia is entering a severe political crisis.’
"At the moment, prisoner Saakashvili is continuing his treatment and his vital parameters are normal," the Minister of Justice Rati Bregadze told Imedi TV. pic.twitter.com/CiVMib13Kb— Justice Ministry GEO (@Justice_geo) October 29, 2021
Unlike Lelo political party leader and member of the faction, Mamuka Khazaradze, other members of Lelo - Partnership for Georgia have no plans to leave their mandates in protest.
Despite the boycott, they will also vote on constitutional changes on electoral issues in the coming days, which were approved on first reading in early September.
Along with Khazaradze, UNM MPs Ana Tsitlidze, Nona Mamulashvili and Levan Varshalomidze, as well as a founder of Girchi - More Freedom party, Zurab Japaridze, have stated they will leave the state legislature to fight on the street for the annulment of municipal election results.
Saakashvili was arrested in Tbilisi on October 1, a day before Georgian municipal elections.
Georgian Dream government officials say the opposition has plans to create tension at a civil clinic if Saakashvili is brought there.
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 services 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.