PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who is chairman of ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party, has accused opposition United National Movement (UNM) party of intending to “radicalize situation” through its affiliated groups ahead of the October 8 parliamentary elections.
He made the remarks while speaking with journalists on September 14 and commenting on allegations voiced by Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili, who said on September 13 without elaborating details that “there is information that some political parties intend certain provocations during and after the elections.”
“I have spoken with the Interior Minister and there is information that… the United National Movement is interested in radicalization of situation,” PM Kvirikashvili said on September 14.
“This statement is of course based on specific information the Minister is not obligated to make that information public. It is our obligation to make a statement for preventive purposes in order to avoid any type of tension,” he said.
“They [UNM] deny it, but we know that they are setting up groups like In the Name of Georgia’s Loyalty, whose task is to radicalize situation, block entrances and exits with vehicles – this information is available; this information is obtained through legal means and of course we are not obligated to make public all the information. We will not let anyone to mess situation up in Georgia. We will secure peaceful elections. The authorities will use all the legally available means to prevent radicalization. I want to tell our opponents that it is no longer 2003… when such things were happening. Today we are capable of defending progress, which was achieved by Georgia, and the path, which Georgia follows – that is the path of democracy, freedom of speech, human rights, and we will in no way let anyone to divert Georgia from this path,” PM Kvirikashvili said.
“The police will of course use legally available means in order to prevent tensions,” he said.
UNM’s executive secretary, MP Sergo Ratiani, said that “the only political force in Georgia willing to destabilize situation is Georgia Dream itself.”
“The only source of destabilization is Georgian Dream itself,” he said on September 14. “Last year they [GDDG] raided UNM’s 60 offices and the only thing that saved the country from destabilization was UNM’s order to its supporters and activists not to yield to that provocation. We are campaigning and we need normal, calm electoral environment in order to peacefully change the government through October 8 [parliamentary elections].”
Earlier on September 14, the Interior Ministry said that Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili issued an order laying out “additional measures” that the police have to carry out in order to secure safe and calm situation during the electoral period.
“Task force made up of heads of police units in each region will be established to provide following measure in their respective areas of operation: assessment of potential threats, their causes and risks and planning of relevant measures on a regular basis; development of a security plan for possible deployment of police officers on the territory adjacent to polling stations on the election day and securing timely and efficient reaction to illegal actions during the electoral period,” the Interior Ministry said.
PM Kvirikashvili said that “putting Interior Ministry units on higher readiness level is very important for securing peaceful elections, free from any tensions.” He also called on political parties and their supporters to avoid counter-demonstrations and holding campaign rallies simultaneously at the same venue in order to prevent possible tensions.