Ex-president Saakashvili claims he is in Georgia, urges people to vote against ruling party
Saakashvili arrived in Georgia
Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili announced on the morning of October 1 on his Facebook page that he had already arrived in Georgia and was in Batumi. In response, the Georgian Interior Ministry issued an emergency statement that claiming that officially, the ex-president, who is on the wanted list in several criminal cases, did not cross the state border of the country. If this is confirmed, he will be arrested, the Interior Ministry added.
Saakashvili at that time has already published two videos and claims to be in Batumi. Many believe that the buildings visible behind it confirm this.
“Everyone should understand that voting for [the ruling party] Georgian Dream will mean signing a death sentence for Georgia. Therefore, we must all go to the polls on October 2 to save the country. I ask you to make the protest numerous and powerful so that they cannot stop me.
If the usurpating government succeeds in arresting me, this should further strengthen our power”, Saakashvili said.
He also claims that on October 2 he will come to the polling station and vote for his party, the United National Movement.
Saakashvili urges the population “not to vote for the forces associated with [the oligarch, the shadow ruler of Georgia] Ivanishvili, Gakharia [the former prime minister who announced the transition to the opposition]”.
“If you do not like the United National Movement, vote for other, relatively honest, small parties”, Saakashvili said.
The video messages were filmed by him on a mobile phone in the dark and are therefore of poor quality. If this was actually filmed in Batumi, it means that Saakashvili arrived in Georgia at least on the evening of October 30. He did not explain how he managed to enter the country.
A few days ago, Mikheil Saakashvili announced that he would return to Georgia on October 2, on the day of local self-government elections.
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In the videos published, Mikheil Saakashvili announced a mass rally in Tbilisi the day after the elections, October 3:
“We must […] fill Rustaveli Avenue and Freedom Square, and if there are 100,000 of us, no one will defeat us. And Georgia will once again embark on the path of development. Poverty and horror will end. See you all soon, in Tbilisi”, Saakashvili said.
Several criminal cases have been initiated against Saakashvili in Georgia. He is accused of abuse of power, embezzlement of budget funds, dispersal of an opposition rally in November 2007, and intrusion on the Imedi TV channel. Saakashvili is also involved in the beating of deputy Valery Gelashvili and the murder of Sandro Girgvliani.
In one of the cases, he was sentenced to 6 years in prison, which means that according to Georgian law, as soon as the ex-president enters the territory of Georgia, he must be detained.
At the same time, a special website was created in his support, where more than one hundred thousand people have already registered. The creator of the site is the head of the Law and Justice party, MP Tako Charkviani. She also registered the organization “General People’s Movement for the Return of Saakashvili”.