Georgian President’s office summoned on October 6 Ukrainian diplomat in Tbilisi to convey a complaint over what it said was “meddling” in Georgia’s internal political and electoral process by governor of Odessa region in Ukraine, Mikheil Saakashvili, who was Georgia’s president in 2004-2013.
“Upon President’s instructions, his foreign affairs secretary, Tengiz Pkhaladze, has invited Ukraine’s charge d’affaires Georgii Nazarov to discuss meddling of the Odessa governor, Mikheil Saakashvili, in Georgia’s internal political processes and tensing of pre-election environment by him,” president’s office said.
Pkhaladze said after the meeting: “It is unacceptable when an official of a foreign country is meddling in the Georgian politics and tensing pre-election environment.”
Saakashvili, who chaired UNM opposition party before losing the Georgian citizenship in December 2015, has campaigned for his party in Georgia through addresses via video links to UNM’s campaign events, which some election monitoring groups said was a violation as Georgia’s electoral legislation bans foreign citizens from campaigning in Georgia’s elections.
- UNM Holds Final Campaign Rally Ahead of Polls
- Saakashvili: ‘We’ll Win and Defend Victory’
- Saakashvili Tells UNM Campaign Rally via Video Link: Election Victory ‘Inevitable’
Previously President Giorgi Margvelashvili has called on his predecessor “not to interfere in Georgia’s electoral process”, noting that Saakashvili is a foreign citizen, holding official post in Ukraine.
When asked about it during a Q&A on Facebook Live, Saakashvili responded: “I am the founder of the modern Georgian state.” He also said that he was stripped of his Georgian citizenship by President Margvelashvili “illegally.”
Saakashvili, who is wanted by the Georgian authorities, faces several set of criminal charges, which the ex-president denies as politically motivated.
In July, 2014 Saakashvili was charged with exceeding official authorities in connection with the break up of anti-government protests on November 7, 2007 and raid on and “seizure” of Imedi TV. Court ordered pre-trial detention for Saakashvili in absentia August, 2014 in connection to these charges.
Additional charges of exceeding official powers were filed against him in early August, 2014 in which the prosecution claims Saakashvili ordered beating up of an opposition lawmaker in 2005.
Also in August, 2014 prosecutor’s office filed new criminal charges against Saakashvili, accusing him of misspending GEL 8.83 million of public funds between September, 2009 and February, 2013.
In November, 2014 Saakashvili was formally charged with conspiring with other former senior officials to obstruct justice in a high-profile murder case of Sandro Girgvliani in 2006.