SEPT. 21, 2012 — A video showing prison guards in Georgia sexually abusing inmates has come at a pivotal moment ahead of next month’s parliamentary election
STORY: Georgia’s parliamentary election on Oct. 1 was always going to be a close run affair. The United Movement Party, the party of President Mikheil Saakashvili, has found its most dogged and well-funded opponent yet in the Georgian Dream, the party of the country’s richest man, Bidzina Ivanishvili.
Now, though, after the broadcasting of a leaked video from inside a prison showing guards raping inmates with truncheons, it’s become even more fraught.
Hundreds of people poured out onto the streets of Tbilisi to protest against the videos shortly after they were aired on Sept. 18. A junior cabinet minister resigned immediately and then, a couple of days later the interior minister, Bacho Akhalaia, also quit.
The damage may have already been done, though. It’s not clear yet what impact the video will have on voters’ intention but it does feed into the feeling, shared by many Georgians, that not far below the glossy surface lies a more unsightly side of the current government.
The video, broadcast by two pro-opposition TV channels and apparently timed to have maximum impact on the election, may have had its desired effect.
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