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Ex-First Lady number two in UNM list

By Mariam Chanishvili
Monday, August 29
Sandra Roelofs, the ex-First Lady of Georgia, has been named as number two in the opposition United National Movement’s (UNM) election list, the party which had run Georgia for nine years in 2003-2012 under the leadership of her husband.

Roelofs, who is wife to Georgia’s former President Mikheil Saakashvili and now Odessa Governor in Ukraine (and who remainswanted for several crimes in Georgia), was also named as the UNM’s majoritarian candidate in Georgia’s western Zugdidi region.

“Mrs. Roelofs’ entrance to the team is a serious strengthening, which I am sure will bring a lot of positivity to the citizens of our country,” stated David Bakradze, number one in the UNM’s October 8 parliamentary election list.

Roelofs said it was hard for her to make the decision to go into politics, but stressed that the “current hard socioeconomic situation in the country pushed her to take the step”.

She said that she believes Georgians would make theright choice.

“I am ready to fight. I believe in our victory and I am sure the Georgian people will make the right decision,” stated Roelofs.

The majority said the former First Lady’s involvementin the elections would bring no positives for the UNM as the party’s reputation was badly damaged by a series of of human rights violations. Along with being wanted by Georgian law enforcement bodies, Mikheil Saakashviliwas also deprived of his Georgian passport after he was granted Ukrainian citizenship in December 2015, as Georgian legislation prohibits dual citizenships; exceptions can only be granted by the incumbent President.