The opposition coalition led by the United National Movement (UNM) denied the allegations voiced by the ruling party-endorsed presidential candidate, Salome Zurabishvili, that persons making death threats against her and her family were “associated with UNM and its leaders.”
“The United Opposition and its presidential candidate Grigol Vashadze unequivocally condemn all forms of violence and/or threats of violence directed at any public figure,” reads the statement released on November 12.
“The United Opposition has no involvement in, nor knowledge of, the alleged death threats against presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili and members of her family,” it also said.
The opposition coalition then called on the Interior Ministry “to conduct a timely investigation into Zurabishvili’s allegations and bring to justice all those responsible, regardless of their political affiliation.”
“Without a timely investigation and disclosure of evidence, these allegations may be perceived as unfounded attempts of victimization by the candidate for electoral purposes,” it said.
The coalition also urged the Interior Ministry to investigate the cases of “systemic intimidation” and “politically motivated violence” against opposition activists, including recent incidents in Kaspi, Marneuli and Akhalkalaki.”
It also called on public figures, including Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze and Deputy Speaker Irma Inashvili, “to abstain from statements inciting violence.”
Salome Zurabishvili announced on November 12 that she and her children received death threats through text and voice messages. The candidate claimed that persons issuing threats were identifiable through their social media posts and were former servicemen associated to a wider campaign of insults and threats linked with the UNM.
The presidential candidate did not specify the details of death threats. Later on November 13, she repeated that she received threatening messages from several persons, but declined to identify the individuals making the threats. Zurabishvili’s lawyer Dimitri Gabunia, however, told reporters that the authorities are leading the investigation against one individual.