President Saakashvili’s UNM party said in a statement on May 23, that the arrest of ex-PM and “one of the real presidential candidates” Vano Merabishvili was demonstrating PM Ivanishvili’s “declared goal to destroy political opposition with forceful means.”
“This campaign to destroy the opposition is disguised under the so called campaign for restoration of justice, which in fact represents a classical example of selective justice and politically motivated prosecutions,” reads the statement read out by UNM parliamentary minority leader Davit Bakradze.
The statement says that instead of tackling worsening economic and crime situation, the government “is engaged openly in opposition’s persecution”, which, it says, aims at “demoralizing and disorganizing” the opposition ahead of the upcoming presidential election in October.
UNM says that although arrest of one of its “distinguished” leaders “is a serious blow from the personal point of view”, the party will continue confronting both domestically and internationally “government’s reckless policies, which are disastrous for Georgia.”
It also says that the UNM has always been and will be in forefront of “struggle for Georgia’s European future, struggle against crime and corruption, struggle for Georgia’s freedom and unity.”