Elmar Brok, Foreign Affairs Coordinator of the European People's Party (EPP) and Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament, and Cristian Preda, EPP Group Coordinator on Foreign Affairs, have expressed their strong concern over ongoing intimidation of the United National Movement (UNM) party in Georgia.
"We are particularly worried that UNM candidates were forced to stand down from running in local elections and that opposition members are prosecuted. The case of UNM campaign manager and mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, who is held in pre-trial detention and who was denied bail, raises great concern about the government's determination to adhere to democratic principles.
"This ongoing campaign of intimidation of the main opposition party UNM amounts to political retribution and a vendetta. A government that only recently signed an Association Agreement with the EU is required to accept, as two faces of the same coin, the political forces which constitute the opposition, as much as those which constitute the government. These are the basic principles of a European path," reads the statement released on 10 July.