Former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, convicted in absentia in his country on charges of abuse of power, intends to come to his homeland for local elections. Saakashvili, currently living in Ukraine, published a scan of the air ticket on social media. It is due to arrive in Tbilisi from Kiev on October 2.
Mikheil Saakashvili intends to fly to Tbilisi with his mother, according to the data contained in the electronic airline ticket, shared by the former president on Facebook. In a separate entry, Saakashvili posted a video in which he stated that he wanted to be in Tbilisi on the day of the local elections on October 2 in order to “defend voters’ votes with his compatriots and to participate in saving Georgia”.
“I have no personal ambitions, I am not driven by the will to gain any position. I will not fight for it, but I intend to fight for the future of our children. So that Georgia will remain not only on the world map, but also return to rapid development” – emphasized the former leader.
Escape from the country
Saakashvili was president of Georgia from January 2004 to November 2007, and then in 2008-2013. He supported the country’s pro-Western course, including membership in the EU and NATO. A year after he left the office of head of state, the Tbilisi prosecutor’s office issued an arrest warrant for him. He was wanted on charges of using force against peaceful demonstrators, embezzlement and abuse of power.
Saakashvili left Georgia, however, before his presidential term ended and legal steps were taken against him. After stays in the USA and Brussels, he came to Ukraine and settled in Kiev, where he previously studied at the University of Taras Shevchenko. He became an adviser to the then-president Petro Poroshenko, and received Ukrainian citizenship. He was involved in the political life of that country.
Sent back to Poland
In 2017, Poroshenko deprived Saakashvili’s citizenship because he began to openly criticize the Ukrainian leader’s associates. The Georgian left for Poland, but later returned to Ukraine and was detained there. As part of the readmission he was sent back to our country. The Georgian politician left Poland for the Netherlands, where his wife, Sandra Roelofs, came from.
After Poroshenko’s successor, Volodymyr Zelensky, came to power, Saakashvili returned to Ukraine in May 2019 and regained his citizenship. He founded the New Forces Movement.
Saakashvili is the founder of the United National Movement, now the second largest force in Georgia after the Georgian Dream, a party associated with businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili.
– If I had been in his place, I would have come to Georgia a long time ago. I will not hide it and I have repeated it many times. This is a historic challenge. We have to defeat the Georgian Dream, said the current leader of the United National Movement Nika Melia in mid-September.
Saakashvili’s opponents in Tbilisi claim that despite the announcement, he will not dare to come to the country, and if he does, he will be arrested.
Main photo source: Shutterstock