Georgia’s Ex-President Saakashvili Seeks to Return in Election
(Bloomberg) -- Georgia’s opposition coalition said ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili will become prime minister if it wins parliamentary elections next month, proposing a dramatic comeback from exile of the leader of the country’s Rose Revolution.
The United National Movement and 10 other parties agreed to back Saakashvili’s candidacy to lead their bloc if they win the Oct. 31 elections, UNM party chairman Grigol Vashadze said at a press conference in the capital, Tbilisi, on Monday.
Saakashvili swept to power in the 2003 revolution that ousted former leader Eduard Shevardnadze. He was president for two terms until 2013, and was thwarted in his attempt to continue ruling as premier when the UNM lost parliamentary elections to the Georgian Dream party founded by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, the country’s richest man.
The new government accused Saakashvili of abuse of power during his presidency and he fled the country when prosecutors leveled multiple charges against him. Saakashvili, who was stripped of his Georgian citizenship in 2015, has rejected the charges as politically motivated.
UNM and the United Opposition placed second, with 16% naming it their first choice in the elections, according to an International Republican Institute poll of 1,500 Georgians conducted between June 4 and July 2. Georgian Dream led the survey with 33%.
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