Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has told supporters of his United National Movement, gathered at an election rally in the town of Zugdidi in western Georgia, that "victory was inevitable", according to civil.ge
The rally was addressed by Saakashvili's wife, Dutch-born Sandra Roelofs, who told the gathered supporters that Saakashvili will return to Georgia to celebrate with them election victory. "Misha will return to Georgia even if he has to dig a tunnel from Odessa to Sololaki", Inter press news quoted her as saying. Saakashvili currently holds Ukrainian citizenship and is not allowed to participate directly in Georgian politics. he lives in Odessa where he is the Governor of the region.
The rally kicked off the last phase of the election campaign ahead of polling scheduled for 8 October. It coincided with claims by the current governing party - the Georgian Dream, that the UNM was planning to create provocative incidents on election day and immediately after. This follows reports that two activists from a UNM backed organisation "Free zone" had publicly left the organisation, claiming that UNM was planning post-election disorders. The two activists said they had met Saakashvili in Kiev four days ago and discussed the issue. The two were later questioned about their allegations by the Georgian security services.
The election campaign so far has been remarkably calm and peaceful, but given Georgia's recent history a return to violent turmoil cannot be completely excluded, even if it is highly unlikely.
In the 8 October elections voters will elect a 150 member parliament - 77 chosen under a closed party list proportional system, and 73 by a majoritarian vote in single mandate constituencies. There is a five per cent threshold to qualify for proportional seat allocation and majoritarian candidates must receive more than 50 per cent of valid votes cast to be elected, or a second round is required.
source: commonspace.eu with civil.ge and interpress news
photo: UNM supporters gathered at a rally in Zugdidi