Zelenskiy wins presidency - Will Saakashvili return to Ukraine?
26 April, 2019
Zelenskiy wins presidency - Will Saakashvili return to Ukraine?
Comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy won Sunday's runoff election in Ukraine. With 100% of the ballots counted, Zelenskiy had 73,13% percent of the vote with the incumbent Poroshenko at just 24,49%. The Ukraine President-Elect holds a degree in law and owns the company Kvartal 95, which produces films, cartoons, and TV comedy shows. Kvartal created the television series "Servant of the People", in which Zelenskiy played the role of President of Ukraine.

Saakashvili, who served as the third president of Georgia in 2004-2013
and the Governor of Ukraine’s Odessa in 2015-2016 is expelled from Ukraine until 2021 because of illegally crossing the state border with Poland in 2011. The President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy has stated that Saakashvili is a serious diplomat and consultant for any political candidate. According to him, the former president of Georgia is believed to be capable of taking an important position in Ukraine’s government. Zelenskiy believes Saakashvili should have his Ukrainian citizenship restored. 
Saakashvili supported Volodymyr Zelenskiy and was confident of his victory in the runoff presidential election. Now he expects the restoration of his Ukrainian citizenship. Saakashvili was sure there would not be any changes with the border police until Poroshenko was the president. Whether Zelenskiy keeps his promise or not will probably be known in the near future.

Georgian political analysts comment on Saakashvili’s possible return to Ukraine

Khatuna Lagazidze, a Georgian political analyst says that Saakashvili’s return to Ukraine will have a positive influence on the United National Movement, the political opposition founded by Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia. According to her, if Zelenskiy keeps his promise, Saakashvili will enjoy his political comeback in Ukraine. Meanwhile, Saakashvili's return to Ukraine will increase the chances of Sandra Roelofs’ (Saakashvili’s wife) victory in Zugdidi’s elections, the western city of Georgia. However, Khatuna Lagazidze thinks that Zelenskiy’s statements were quite reserved and the decision will be made not personally by the newly-elected president of Ukraine but through legal procedures. 
Vakhtang Dzabiradze, another Georgian political analyst is skeptical about Saakashvili’s political comeback in Ukraine. However, if it takes place, he rules out its positive impact on Sandra Roelofs’ popularity in Zugdidi. Dzabiradze believes the folks have already made their minds about the election and Saakashvili's return to Ukraine will not make any difference to the results. He thinks it is just too much fuss created by the United National Movement. Dzabiradze agrees with Lagazidze about a possible delay in the restoration of Ukrainian citizenship for Saakashvili.

Related stories:

Mikheil Saakashvili is a man without principles, says Ukrainian MIA Arsen Avakov

Mikheil Saakashvili together with Georgian emigrants plan to return home

Georgian taxi driver in Poland picks up Mikheil Saakashvili

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