Declaring the local elections “stolen from us in every big city,” jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili today called for protests to “take back power” from the Georgian Dream government and “make them answer to the law.” He also urged the opposition to leave the Parliament.
In an address published on his Facebook page, Saakashvili stressed “we won this election and the group of bandits who usurped the Georgian government snatched this victory from us. They robbed us and deprived us of our most basic right to be the masters of our own country.”
Alluding to Georgian Dream founder, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, Saakashvili argued that during the 2018 revolution in Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan fought against a “similar oligarch, who was backed by Russia and rigged the election… many and many more took to the streets until the bandit government broke and called for early elections.”
The ex-President argued that “exactly the same should be done here,” adding “[election]-falsifier bandits to go and snap elections to be called.” He claimed that the Ukrainians “did the same to” Viktor Yanukovych during the 2014 revolution.
“How can we not be able to do what others have imitated before and even succeeded?” asked Saakashvili, claiming that “after all, the idea of such revolutions was born in Georgia.”
Addressing the public, Saakashvili argued that “we do not have much time, we have to act in many places and with great numbers. We need to listen to the opinion of the leaders and take the initiative on the ground.”
He stressed also that meanwhile “we have to appeal everything,” arguing such “catastrophic” findings by observers have not been seen either in “Armenia, Kyrgyzstan” or before the 2003 revolution in Georgia.
“Now we have full legitimacy for street protest and resistance to violence,” Saakashvili highlighted.
The ex-President argued the Parliament has lost its function for decision-making. He adressed the opposition MPs, asserting “the patriots of this nation” should leave the Parliament, as biding time and “talking to the bandits” about reforms or legislative changes would “serve to extinguish the spark of protest.”
Following Georgia’s months-long political crisis and parliamentary boycott, by mid-June, 58 of the 60 elected opposition MPs had entered the Parliament. Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili and Elene Khoshtaria of Droa party refused to enter. After Georgian Dream quit the EU-mediated April 19 deal in July, UNM chair Nika Melia left the Parliament. Zurab Japaridze of Girchi More Freedom also announced leaving, but his mandate has not yet been terminated. Mamuka Khazaradze of Lelo announced on October 31 he would be quitting as well.
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