Georgia’s future is at stake. As the second round of the local elections in Georgia approaches, the political situation continues to escalate. The Georgian ruling party, Georgian Dream (GD), is doing its utmost to prevent a free and fair competition with the United National Movement (UNM). Recent attacks on the UNM office in Rustavi show once again that the GD is inciting violence and defamation out of fear of the UNM.
With the UNM, the election campaign has once again gained a democratic and pro-European voice, which represents a substantive alternative to the GD regime. For its part, the ruling party is attempting to distract from the deficits of these last years through exclusion and polarization.
A particularly malicious example of this strategy is the imprisonment of UNM honorary chairman, Mikheil Saakashvili. The accusations against Mr. Saakashvili are contrived and serve only one purpose – to obstruct the election campaign. Free and fair political discourse must not be hampered by government repression.
The IDU calls on the Government of Georgia to drop the charges against Mr. Saakashvili and release him from detention immediately. Due to his poor state of health, we demand that Mr. Saakashvili be transferred to a civilian hospital.
The citizens of Georgia, as well as Georgia’s international friends and partners, expect the government to ensure the foundations of free, democratic, and transparent elections, and to guarantee equal opportunities.
The IDU also asks voters to support the mayoral candidacies of Nika Melia in Tbilisi, Khatia Dekanoidze in Kutaisi, Giorgi Kirtadze in Batumi, Gigi Ugulava in Poti, Giorgi Botkoveli in Telavi, and Davit Kirkitadze in Rustavi, as well as all other UNM candidates! #VOTEUNM