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Arrest of Merabishvili - last chance for "United National Movement?"2013-05-28 18:36
The arrest of one of the leading candidates for the presidency from the "United National Movement" Vano Merabishvili has caused a mixed reaction in the community. Experts say that a lot will depend on the decision of the court. If Merabishvili is condemned under "controversial" articles, then the version of political persecution of Saakashvili's supporters on the side of the leaders of the "Georgian Dream" gets additional arguments. So what is now happening in Georgia: the restoration of justice or the persecution of political opponents?
Bidzina Ivanishvili stands for justice restoration. First of all, the justice implies the arrest of the representative of the former regime who violated the law. But such is the version of the Prime Minister. According to representatives of the "United National Movement," such justice is nothing more than a political reprisals against the opponents. Particularly, according to the "Nationals," this applies to the loud arrest of General Secretary and former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili.
Why are the arrests political? The logic of the UNM leaders is as follows: Merabishvili, and perhaps a few others, were to participate in the primaries among the "Nationals" to identify a candidate for the presidency. And just shortly before that Vano Merabishvili was arrested. Now the "Nationals" say there's no sense in holding primaries, so the candidate will be determined during the "internal consultations." However, representatives of the former ruling party say they are not going to give up and intend to put forward a decent candidate for the presidency.
- Of course, the arrest of Merabishvili is not no restoration of justice, so all talks about lack of political grounds are not serious," one of the leaders of the National Movement, MP Gigi Tsereteli said in an interview to GeorgiaTimes. "In any country where General Secretary of the main opposition party gets arrested and, moreover, he is charged with wrong implementation of public employment program when being the Prime Minister, such arrest would have been considered politically motivated. The current Georgian leadership has repeatedly stated that the neutralization and elimination of political opponents was the main task. They are carrying out such policy today. If we pay attention to the statements of our Western partners, they are fairly restrained till the court decision. Nevertheless, the OSCE, the U.S. government and U.S. senators have already made certain statements. And they are talking about political motivation and that it is necessary to convince the international community in the contrary. If you look at the socio-economic situation in the country, you see that it is not improving as promised by the current government, but on the contrary - the situation is deteriorating. They need to attract people's attention to other things under the guise of the so-called restoration of justice. I believe that today Merabishvili is a political prisoner. Not like those released as a result of the amnesty law, including agents of foreign governments, but the real political prisoner.
- What are the plans of the party in relation to the candidate for president, and how have they changed after the arrest of Merabishvili?
- We have made some adjustments. We were going to hold primaries to determine our candidate as a result of "internal election." Real candidate is under arrest today, so we use a different methodology, studies and opinion polls; and after that we will name the presidential candidate from the United National Movement.