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Saakashvili’s candidacy for Vice PM of Ukraine withdrawn

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, April 29
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has withdrawn the candidacy of former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili for Vice PM of Ukraine for reforms from parliament, Ukrainian media outlet Censor Net reported on April 28th. The edition Ukrayinska Pravda was informed so by a source who attended the meeting between the parliamentary faction 'Voice' and Saakashvili.

“It seems that the faction 'People's Servant' (the ruling party of Ukraine) has deceived him.”

Ukrainian Parliament Speaker Dmitry Razumkov, Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament), is not convinced that he will support the appointment of Mikheil Saakashvili as Ukraine's Deputy PM. He told RBK-Ukraine about it.

According to Razumkov, there are enough people in the ruling People's Servant team to be useful to the government.

Ukrainian media quoted parliament sources as saying that PM Denys Shmyhal also opposed the appointment of Saakashvili to the post.

Saakashvili, Georgia’s third president and former head of the Odessa regional administration, suggested last week that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered the post of vice PM of reforms. On April 24th, Saakashvili met with members of the People’s Servant faction, but, as Ukrainian media reported, most members of the faction could not be persuaded to support him.

Censor Net says that Saakashvili needed the support of at least 190-200 MPs from the ruling ‘Servant of the People’ party to receive mandatory 226 votes, while only 140-170 MPs were ready to vote for him from the party.

“There are not enough votes, so President Zelensky decided not to support Mikheil Saakashvili publicly,” said Yuri Butusov, Editor-in-Chief of the Ukrainian portal

According to the same media outlet, the third President of Georgia, who previously served as Odessa governor in Ukraine, may be nominated for Odessa mayor, but it’s unlikely that he will be nominated as vice PM again.

Earlier, another media outlet reported that instead of the post of Deputy PM, the ruling party might nominate Saakashvili as a candidate for the 'People's Servant' in Odessa, with maximum political and financial support from the government.

The possible appointment of Mikheil Saakashvili as Ukraine's Deputy PMr has provoked a sharply negative reaction from the Georgian authorities. The PM Giorgi Gakharia did not rule out that in such a case, the Ambassador of Georgia from Ukraine will be summoned for consultation. According to him, such a step would be followed by an appropriate reaction from Georgia.

“The Ukrainian state is our strategic partner and nothing can change this in the long run; however, the appointment of a person convicted and wanted in Georgia as a vice-premier by our partner is categorically unacceptable to us,” Gakharia stated.

Georgia’s Speaker of the Parliament Archil Talakvadze also remarked on the existing situation, saying that such decisions “will harm the present political cooperation between our countries, and these types of decisions will be unfathomable and unacceptable to us.”

Davit Arakhamia, chairman of the People's Servant faction, called the Tbilisi protest ‘political aggression.’

Georgian Ambassador to Ukraine Teimuraz Sharashenidze said that the possible appointment of Saakashvili to the post is likely to be perceived in Tbilisi as an unfriendly and unacceptable step from a strategic partner.

On April 27th, the parties, European Georgia and the Free Democrats, issued a joint statement calling on “Ivanishvili's government, as well as all political parties in Georgia, not to turn Ukraine's internal political issues into a source of controversy in our country.” This threatens the historical, strategic friendship and partnership between Ukraine and Georgia.

On April 22nd Saakashvili wrote on his Facebook page that he had received Ukrainian President’s offer to become deputy prime minister for reforms in the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.

Saakashvili has served as Georgia’s third president from 2004 to 2007 and again from 2008 to 2013. Georgia has several times requested Saakashvili’s extradition from Ukraine. He is accused of the violent dispersal of anti-government mass protests on November 7, 2007; unlawful raiding of Imedi television company by riot police and the illegal takeover of property owned by media tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili.