Levan Khabeishvili, the chair of the United National Movement opposition party, on Monday rejected media reports on nominating the currently imprisoned former president Mikheil Saakashvili for premiership ahead of the 2024 parliamentary elections.
In his press comments, the opposition leader claimed Saakashvili would “definitely be a factor” in the UNM’s fight “against Bidzina Ivanishvili [the founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party, labeled as a shadow ruler by the opposition], but added Saakashvili would “ himself make a decision” on his role.
“Saakashvili has repeatedly stated the position that he does not intend to be in Georgian politics. He is a citizen of Ukraine, he wants to get involved in Ukrainian politics. Among other things, this will happen for the benefit of our country”, Khabeishvili said.
Saakashvili was arrested in 2021 in Tbilisi on his clandestine return from Ukraine after eight years in exile.
Currently he is serving his six-year sentence for abuse of power, while three other cases involving him are still pending.
Domestic courts earlier this year rejected the motion by Saakashvili’s legal team on his transfer abroad on legal grounds, with the European Court of Human Rights also accepting the verdicts.