President Warns Against Unrest Amid Reports of Saakashvili’s Arrival

President Salome Zurabishvili warned today against unrest as reports of the arrival of Ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia have stirred confusion on the eve of the municipal elections.

Pointing at “spreading unrest” in the country, the President criticized both the opposition and the government for failing to maintain calm ahead of the October 2 municipal elections amid today’s developments. She did not explicitly refer to the reports about Saakashvili’s return in her statements, however.

“The issue, truth or a lie,” breaches the pre-election environment and strains the public, creating conditions for increased polarization, she said. Those “speculating” with the issue are bidding on hitting the streets on October 3, “or destabilization,” contrary to their calls on voters to take part in “peaceful elections,” said the President, presumably pointing fingers to the United National Movement, Saakashvili’s party.  

President Zurabishvili also slammed the performance of Georgian authorities. Alluding to the Georgian Dream press briefings denying Saakashvili’s presence in the country, she said “the comments should not be coming from the [ruling] party today, but rather from the state bodies that are obliged to verify the facts.”

“Mockery and jokes are not the answer when the efficiency of the state structures is questioned in the country,” she added. The President said the government is responsible for preventing destabilization attempts, not giving way to polarization, and upholding a “peaceful and free” election environment.

Stressing that “the time of civil conflict is over,” she said she stands with Georgian citizens “not in any street or square, but rather on the side of the constitutional order and peaceful future.” “I call on everyone to act responsibly.”

After continued pledges that he would return to Georgia for October 2 elections, Saakashvili said in his Facebook post this morning that he has arrived, later uploading poor quality unverified videos allegedly shot in Batumi, Adjara region. While not making any separate statement to confirm or deny the reports, the Ministry of Interior said in response to media questions that the exiled ex-President had not crossed the state border.

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


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