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Ex-First lady: “Misha's arrival is inevitable”

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 27
Georgia’s ex-First Lady, Sandra Roelofs, who is now participating in Georgia’s October 8 Parliamentary elections, claims the arrival of her husband, Georgia's ex-President Mikehil Saakashvili in Georgia, is “inevitable.”

Roelofs, who is number two in the party list of the previous ruling United National Movement (UNM) party, has addressed the voters in Georgia’s western, coastal city Batumi in the Adjara region.

"I have not seen so many people for a long time. Well done, Adjarians! Let's see if Zugdidi (town in west Georgia) will show a better result in these days," Roelofs said, appealing to the population to support the “professional team of the UNM”, which ran the country 2003-2012 until it was defeated by the current Georgian Dream (GD) Government in 2012.

Roelofs stressed that her husband, who now serves as Odessa's Governor in Ukraine as a citizen of Ukraine not Georgia, but remains wanted by Georgia’s law enforcers for several charges, “isn’t afraid of anything”.

“Misha’s coming is inevitable. The current government is driving us back. Wake up, people. You are awake, but many others, who are watching us now, are not sure of it. Yes, they were democratically elected [GD Government], but they failed to fulfil their obligations. Now it is up to the people who decide who will run the country in the future,” the ex-First Lady, of Dutch origin, said.

Saakashvili also addressed supporters in Batumi, despite the fact that such video addresses are unlawful, as a citizen of a foreign country is deprived of the right to make public addresses and becoming involved in election campaigning.

Saakashvili promised that the situation will change in Georgia like “the rainy weather changed into a sunny day”.

He stressed the only way for the development of the country is “construction and progress”.

“I want to welcome you all. I am happy that we are so many. The enemy must see how many we are. My friends, as I know, it has been raining since the morning in Batumi, but then the clouds disappeared and weather brightened up. Like this, the last four years of trouble will disappear as a dark nightmare. We must always move forward in Batumi and all of Georgia,” Saakashvili said.

Meanwhile, UNM member Nika Melia said the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party planned to hold their pre-election event on the same day and at the venue the UNM had planned.

“We are going to hold a rally on October 2nd, and we have found out the Georgian Dream is going to change a date of their event planned for October five and hold it on October two. As we have been informed, they changed the date as October 5th is a working day and they won’t be able to mobilize public servants,” said Melia.

In response, Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili said the ruling party needed no large-scale pre-election events.

“The only event we are going to hold is a victory event on the evening of October 8 after we win the elections,” Kvirikashvili said.

Georgia’s ex-Prime Minister and founder of the current ruling force, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has responded to the statements over Saakashvilli’s possible coming to Georgia by saying “that poor man will not dare to come to Georgia, as he is afraid of even being stuck in an elevator”.

Georgia’s Defence Minister Levan Izoria said if Saakashvili arrived, Georgia’s law-enforcers would take “relevant steps.”

The ruling party representatives stated Saakashvili was afraid of coming to Georgia and answering the questions concerning the alleged crimes he has been charged with.

They also said the ex-President voluntarily revoked his Georgian citizenship to become a Ukrainian national.

GDDG members also stated “all the public polls” indicated towards a win for GD.

Local NGOs have several times condemned Saakashvili’s participation in the pre-election campaigning and urged Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) to address the issue.

The CEC stressed it was impossible to fine a person for violating the law who never appeared in the country. Instead, the CEC promised those parties or individuals would be fined who ensured the videos are broadcast to voters.