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Georgian Dream Backbenchers invoke the Specter of ‘Civil War’

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In what seemed like series of coordinated statements, several Georgian Dream MPs have alluded to the possibility of civil confrontation in case the UNM-led coalition’s Grigol Vashadze wins the second round of Presidential polls.

MP Gedevan Popkhadze, a Georgian Dream backbencher known for his eccentric statements, said: “If Vashadze wins the elections, this would be the real step towards the beginning of civil war in Georgia…The attitude of revenge and the objective of the UNM to bring [ex-President Mikheil] Saakashvili back, to free [former Interior Minister] Merabishvili [from prison] gives me the grounds to say this. All of this will be leading to liquidation of those political opponents, who present a problem to Saakashvili.” He called for “unity” not to allow “this fascist force” to come back to power.

Popkhadze’s statement was seconded by more senior MP, Irakli Sesiashvili, Chair of the Parliament’s Committee for Defense and Security, who said “the UNM plans revolutionary processes, and in this case, if things become tense, even if I were not holding any official position, I would be the first soldier to protect the country from these traitors, torturers and man-haters.”

Sesiashvili added, that many Georgian Dream supporters did not go to polls, since they were confident of victory. But, he argued “the people now saw, what UNM’s plans might bring. On one side, there are wishes for violence that are yet unfulfilled, and on the other side, there is a government, perhaps not ideal, but[standing for] peace, security and country’s development. I am confident, that we will win in this situation.”

Opposition outcry

Opposition MPs have condemned the statements, with Roman Gotsiridze from the United National Movement (UNM) calling on the ruling party leadership to distance themselves from these statements, which according to him “contains elements of criminal offense”.

Giga Bokeria of the European Georgia, whose candidate, Davit Bakradze came in third in the first round of Presidential polls and now backs UNM’s Vashadze, convened a briefing saying the “government should step over itself and condemn the talk of civil war”.

Kaladze dodges the question

Asked whether he agrees with his colleagues, the Georgian Dream Secretary General Kakha Kaladze, refused to answer directly, however, said “there won’t be any civil war in Georgia. I don’t know who said what, but the Georgian Dream won’t allow destabilization in the country to occur, Georgian Dream party is the guarantor of that, the government guarantees that.”

The talk of possible “destabilization” was invoked much less during the first round campaign by the Georgian Dream, although ahead of the polls, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia said his ministry has “detailed” information about the “plots”.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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