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GDDG Politicians Say Opposition Wants to ‘Destabilize’ Elections

The ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party politicians claim the opposition wants to “destabilize” the situation ahead of the October 28 presidential elections.

The authorities stress the recently released recordings, which implicate senior GDDG in case-fixing and other offenses, are “provocations” plotted by the United National Movement (UNM).

Speaking to reporters on October 18, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said opposition wants to cause “dissonance” before the upcoming elections, and “create certain expectations that the polls won’t be conducted in a free and peaceful manner.”

“They should not have any illusions about that; the public understands full well where the line lies between the reality and [the opposition’s] mysticism,” Prime Minister Bakhtadze noted, adding that the opposition has also been conducting a campaign of “personal attacks and insults.”

PM Bakhtadze spoke briefly on Mirza Subeliani’s allegations as well, saying “as it seems, most of them are [mere] illusions.”

Interior Minister: have “detailed” information on all the plots

Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia echoed the message in his press remarks, telling reporters that the authorities have “detailed” information on “all the plans that were being plotted for destabilization and provocations.”

“The Ministry, together with the State Security Service, has all of that exposed and detailed at all levels, including who was planning what and when it was being planned; these [plans] will not materialize and the elections will be held in absolutely peaceful and safe environment,” he noted.

Gakharia touched upon the case-fixing tapes briefly, but did not elaborate on the substance of accusations.

He said: “the Interior Ministry is an absolutely neural political institution; today, I have no right and no desire to speak of the issue in detail because we are in a pre-election context… all of the questions will be addressed both legally and politically, once the Interior Ministry holds the elections in a peaceful and safe environment.”

Tbilisi Mayor: attempts to ‘radicalize’ pre-election environment will fail

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze commented on the matter on October 17, saying the United National Movement and Rustavi 2 TV, “UNM’s partisan outlet,” have been trying “to fuel up tensions,” and “radicalize” the pre-election environment.

Tbilisi Mayor said the opposition has been doing this through “doctored tapes,” “propaganda,” and made-up topics,” hoping it would prompt street protests. “No one will be allowed to trigger unrest in the country,” Kaladze noted.

He then said about month ago UNM had asked the Tbilisi municipality government for a permission to hold large-scale rallies on Tbilisi’s Freedom Square and Rustaveli Avenue on October 19-21. Kaladze stressed this also was part of UNM’s attempts to trigger turmoil.

The elections will take place on October 28. This will be the last time that the head of state will be elected through direct ballot. According to the new constitution, which will enter into force upon new president’s inauguration, the heads of state will be elected by a 300-member Electoral College for a term of five years starting from 2024.

For the extended background, follow our Weekly Elections Digest or the 2018 Presidential Elections Tag.

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