The victory of Grigol Vashadze in the Georgian presidential election may unleash an all-out civil conflict in the country, lawmaker Gedevan Popkhadze of the ruling Georgian Dream party said, TASS reports.
"I’m firmly convinced that Vashadze’s election victory will become a real step toward the civil war in Georgia. Vashadze and the United National Movement (UNM), which nominated him as a presidential candidate, have revanchist ideas and goals," the lawmaker told reporters in Tbilisi. "Vashadze himself said on numerous occasions that he intends to let ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili return to the country if he wins the election. And we all know too well what Saakashvili and his team plan to do if they rise to power."
A number of other prominent Georgian politicians share this point of view, while others accuse the ruling party and its members of trying to intimidate voters with political consequences to secure their support.
Members of the European Georgia opposition party urged the ruling Georgian Dream’s leadership to condemn those statements.
"I think that this statement by Popkhadze reflects the stance of some of the ruling party’s leaders. I think that the Georgian Dream should weigh this statement and distance itself from Popkhadze’s words," said Gigi Ugulava, a leader of European Georgia.
During the October 24 debates with his main opponent, independent candidate Salome Zurabishvili, Vashadze said that his election victory would "launch a power transition process in the country." He also said that ex-president Saakashvili, found guilty in absentia on a series of charges, must be given an opportunity to return to Georgia to "answer questions of law-enforcement bodies." Besides, the Georgian president has the authority to pardon prisoners.
The Georgian Central Election commission said on Monday that an independent presidential candidate, 66-year-old Salome Zurabishvili has received 38.64% of the vote, while her key rival Grigol Vashadze, nominated by the United National Movement party, has secured 37.74% of the vote. Both candidates will go to runoff no later than December 2, as the first round of the elections was deemed too close to call.