Ex-President Saakashvili Named as UNM’s Prime Ministerial Hopeful

Grigol Vashadze, chairman of the United National Movement, former ruling party (2003-2012), announced on September 7 that the UNM and its satellite parties of Strength in Unity opposition coalition unanimously supported Mikheil Saakashvili, former Georgian President as their Prime Ministerial candidate for October 31 parliamentary elections.

Explaining the decision, Vashadze credited Saakashvili as the leader who led the establishment of effective state institutions, a four-fold increase of national economy, defeating crime, and eradicating corruption, among others, during his presidential tenure in 2004-2013.

“Utilizing Saakashvili’s resources is absolutely essential for our state in order to achieve internal and foreign policy goals [of our nation],” Vashadze maintained.

Mikheil Saakashvili left the country shortly after the end of his second term in 2013. He is wanted on multiple charges in Georgia, which he denies as politically motivated.

Former Georgian President, stripped of his Georgian nationality, now holds Ukrainian citizenship. In May, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy appointed him as the chairman of Ukraine’s Executive Reform Committee.

Saakashvili announced on September 6 that he would announce his plan to return to Georgia on Monday. Vashadze said in his today’s announcement that Saakashvili’s return will “comply with Georgia’s political culture and legislation.”

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