TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s former UN ambassador, now an opposition leader, says that President Mikheil Saakashvili’s apparatus is organizing paramilitary groups and handing out weapons in preparation for a civil war in the power struggle ahead of the election this October.
Irakli Alasania, considered a moderate among the opposition, said Friday that there are being formed paramilitary groups and handed out weapons in Western Georgia. Alasania asked the international community to take immediate measures to ensure a democratic election this October.
Alasania, who is leader of the Free Democrats Party, a part of Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili’s opposition coalition, made the statement during a meeting with foreign diplomats on March 15, the same day as German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle visited.
Bidzina Ivanishvili, head of Georgian Dream coalition and Davit Usupashvili, Georgian Republican party leader, another member of coalition along with Free Democrats, attended the meeting.
Alasania asked the international community to strengthen the monitoring of what the Georgian government is doing. Otherwise, he fears that the government will use force against citizens. He doesn’t exclude that there will be civil war in the country.
Several months ago, Kakha Mikaia, who is from Samegrelo, Western Georgia, which borders the breakaway region Abkhazia, and a representative of one of the opposition parties not part of Georgian Dream coalition, made a statement about the fact that the government is organizing armed units in Western Georgia.
Vako Avaliani, Free Democrats spokesperson told DF Watch that he cannot talk about details right now and they will hold a press conference about this issue next week, where they will present to media and diplomatic corps with material on the grounds of which the statement was made.
After Alasania’s statement, Nugzar Tsiklauri, an MP from the ruling National Movement Party, said that the government really is organizing units in the regions of Georgia far from of Tbilisi, but he says these are military reserve force units, where service is on a voluntary basis and people join freely. But he also notes that these people do not wear weapons or military clothes after training is finished.
The concept of volunteer reserve forces appeared in Georgian legislation in October 2011 after an initiative of the Defense Ministry and foresees five day military training for persons who want to obtain military skills.