A day after Georgian Dream coalition held a huge campaign rally in Zugdidi, the same central square of the main town of Samegrelo region was filled on September 23 by supporters of the ruling party to listen President Saakashvili’s campaign speech.
Senior government officials, including PM Vano Merabishvili; acting interior minister Eka Zguladze and Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, were also present at the rally.
In his speech Saakashvili reiterated once again that the release of prison abuse videos was deliberately timed just before the elections in order to make voters cast ballot “under the shock” with a goal to derail Georgia and throw it back into the past.
“I can tell you today that this plan has already failed,” Saakashvili said.
“These people knew about those terrible things [happening in prison] for a long time already. This is Russian money, the same Russian money which threw us from Abkhazia; they can do nothing but dirty things; the only thing they can do is [making] compromising materials, discrediting, blackmail, destruction,” he said. “These people spend hundreds of millions of dollars to tell the world that Georgia is a terrible country; they hire lobbyists; they hire rotten elements within the system – there are rotten elements in any system.”
“It was a long-time conspiracy; it was a provocation planned long time before, which was made possible including because of our mistakes too,” Saakashvili said.
“They thought that collapse of the system would have started from Monday, accompanied by shock and confusion, as well as by series of resignation of officials and disorders in the regions.”
“In eight days [on election day] a huge disappointment awaits those people, who hoped to bring in organized crime, Russia’s Putinist rules and [who hoped] to thrown Georgia back into the past,” Saakashvili told thousands of “Misha, Misha” chanting supporters.
“Their program is not to allow us build [planned new city on the Black Sea coast] Lazika… their program is about destruction,” Saakashvili said.
“Our program is about rebuilding. I will not quit the politics without turning Lazika into the most brilliant city of the Black Sea,” he said.
On September 22 PM Vano Merabishvili spoke at a campaign meeting of ruling party’s majoritarian MP candidate in Tbilisi’s Isani single-mandate constituency and said that both the society and the government had reacted “adequately” to the prison abuse scandal.
“I am very glad that we have achieved one thing – revelation of these cases has been followed by an adequate reaction from the society and, I think, an adequate reaction from the government,” PM Merabishvili said.
“We have created such a society that will not reconcile with turning Georgia backwards. This case confirms that reforms are not irreversible; if such people, who are able to do such things [referring to prison abuse], can be found within us, there is a high probability that if we do not continue reforms and if we do not accomplish these reforms… everything can go back into the past; those people, who were torturing inmates in the prison, may leave prisons and occupy various official posts, those who were financing them and then showing [video footage of prison abuse] on TV will seat take [official posts] too,” he said.
PM Merabishvili also said that in next few days “you will learn who is going to return back into Georgia”. He did not elaborate, but President Saakashvili also said for couple of times in recent days that the authorities were in possession of information proving existence of a plot.
“We are cooperating internationally with our partners and we have lots of information – not pleasant one; but the good thing is that we possess this information, we will share it with public and we will eradicate this [plot],” Saakashvili said on September 20.