Mikheil Sarjveladze, the Chair of the Georgian Parliament's Committee on Human Rights, on Monday said the imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili “must not be able to carry out an election campaign in the country” as he would “have to respect the laws, rules and order”.
Sarjveladze’s comment followed a statement by Sopo Japaridze, a member of the opposition United National Movement party, who on Monday said she had started meetings with citizens on behalf of Saakashvili.
In his remarks over the matter, Sarjveladze noted foreign citizens were restricted from participating in Georgian politics, adding “when they try to disrespect this norm, it does not look good - at the very least it is disrespectful to the country's legislation”, in reference to the Ukrainian citizenship of the former official.
“He will have to respect and consider the laws, rules and order of our sovereign country. As for his efforts to launch an election campaign, he has negative attitudes towards a number of factions and wings of his party”, Sarjveladze said.
According to Georgian legislation, a citizen of a foreign country is prohibited from participating in Georgian politics. They themselves do not know what their actions will be in the future, and I cannot assess this [whether this law is violated] in advance [by the UNM member comments]. Whatever it is, if it involves Saakashvili's participation in Georgian politics, it will be an unlawful act”, the Parliament official noted.
Saakashvili is currently serving a six-year-term for abuse of power while in office in two separate cases, while three other cases involving him are still pending. He was arrested in Tbilisi in October 2021 after eight years abroad, following his clandestine return to Georgia ahead of domestic municipal elections.