Mikheil Saakashvili, the currently imprisoned third President of Georgia, on Friday said he “completely shared the de-Russification concept” raised by Mamuka Khazaradze, the leader of the Lelo Opposition party, on Wednesday.
In his social media post Khazaradze said “the middle should stand together”, which caused controversies in public and political groups.
Explaining the wording, Irakli Kupradze, the Secretary General of Lelo, claimed the message had been sent to the public and not to political parties, and did not include the call for merging parties ahead of the next year’s Parliamentary elections.
"This message is sent so that we can create an alternative. Lelo considers itself a part of the middle, which neither likes the current, ‘pro-Russian” stance, of the Government, nor the past of [Saakashvili’s] United National Movement. The middle should be filled with diversity, and we are not talking about replacing two poles with three poles”, he said, and added the party believed different opposition groups should act in the “coordination, not cooperation” format to protect voters’ rights or ensure the fair court of votes in the race.
Responding to Khazaradze’s post, Saakashvili said “de-Russification should be exactly what everyone should do, and postponing it is the same as letting some serious disease go untreated”.
“The Russian virus, which threatens our national organism with death, requires mobilization of immunity and strength of the entire society. Everyone has its own battle in this mobilization”, he claimed in his social media post.
Saakashvili, who earlier this week announced he would chair the UNM political council, also said he shared the concept that the middle should stand together.
Labeling the UNM and Saakashvili as “destructive forces”, the Georgian authorities said the former President had no right to get involved in domestic politics as a citizen of Ukraine.