Georgia launches probe over plot to ‘overthrow government,’ after parties call victory BEFORE votes counted in disputed election
In a report released on Friday, the agency pointed to evidence that “specific persons, in case of an undesirable result for them in the parliamentary elections, planned to overthrow the government by force.” No details of the plot, or why it failed, have been made public.
A criminal case has now been launched into the “conspiracy to violently change the constitutional order, overthrow, or seize Georgian state power.” The charges could carry up to eight years in prison, although no current suspects have yet been identified.
Georgia, much like the US state with which it shares a name, had a knife-edge election in October that threatened to spill into civil unrest, after a former president refused to concede defeat when he narrowly lost in the poll.
Mikhail Saakashvili, who served as the country’s president until 2013, called the election a “triumph” and vowed to form a coalition government. Saakashvili, who is currently living in exile in Ukraine, is wanted by Georgian police on charges of abusing power while in office, which he denies.
However, representatives of the ruling party, Georgian Dream, also declared victory before it was clear they had gained sufficient votes to stay in power. Since the count, the government claims it has secured a super-majority of more than two-thirds of seats in parliament.
The results have been widely contested and, on Tuesday, opposition parties jointly announced they would be boycotting the legislature and calling for the elections to be declared “null and void.”
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has added to the concerns raised around the polls. In its report on the election, it warned of “pervasive allegations of pressure on voters and blurring of the line between the ruling party and the state.”
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