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Ex-First Lady rejects her parliamentary mandate

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, November 9
Georgia’s Former First Lady and member of the main opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), Sandra Roelofs, has refused to enter the new parliament.

Roelofs, who was number two on the UNM party list, applied to the Central Election Commission (CEC) asking to suspend her Member of Parliament (MP) mandate.

However, the CEC Press-Speaker, Ana Mikeladze, stated that the suspension of parliamentary mandates was not the authority of the CEC and the new parliament had to make such a decision.

“When the new parliament gathers, Roelofs can address it and ask for the suspension of her mandate,” stated Mikeladze.

Roelofs, 47, is the wife of Georgia’s ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, who now lives in Ukraine and remains wanted in Georgia for several charges, already refused to take part in October 30s's second round of parliamentary elections in Zugdidi, where she was the UNM's majoritarian candidate.

She said the election results were falsified, and participation in the run-off of such elections would be insulting for her.

However, this time Roelofs has not made any explanations about her decision not to enter the new parliament.

Roelofs will be presumably replaced in Parliament by another UNM member, Giorgi Gviniashvili, who was number 28 on the UNM’s party list.

In total, the UNM managed to gain 27 mandates in Parliament, and according to Georgia’s Election Code, if any of the MPs refuses to enter Parliament, they should be replaced by the next person on the party list.

Gviniashvili will have 15 days to make a decision, and if he also refuses to enter Parliament , the person following him on the party list will take the mandate.

The UNM explains that they were informed about the decision of Roelofs and it is acceptable for them.

UNM member Sergo Ratiani says that during the pre-election period, Roelofs was pressured by the ex-Prime Minister and founder of the ruling party Georgian Dream (GD), Bidzina Ivanishvili.

“I think the motive of Sandra’s decision is clear… it was her personal decision and we respect it,” stated Ratiani, and added that Roelofs would make more explanations herself.

The majority believes that Roelofs made her decision because she realized that trust towards Saakashvili, who is currently a citizen of Ukraine, has significantly reduced among Georgians.

“Sandra Roelofs would not do anything as an MP, and her presence out of the parliament would also not change anything much too,” Georgia’s Minister of Refugees, Sozar Subari, stated.