The son of Mikheil Dautashvili, the mayoral candidate for the Dmanisi municipality from the ruling Georgian Dream party, allegedly stabbed two people during a rally for a mayoral contender from the opposition United National Movement (UNM) party.
Davit Dautashvili faces between 3 and 6 years in prison for the alleged attack.
The confrontation took place on Tuesday, in the village of Gantiadi of the Dmanisi Municipality. It happened during a pre-election rally held by Giorgi Tatuashvili, UNM’s candidate for Dmanisi mayor.
Video footage of the incident has widely circulated on social media.
The video shows a clash between Georgian Dream and UNM supporters, with Mikheil Dautashvili and his son part of the melee.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, an initial verbal confrontation quickly broke into violence. Davit Dautashvili reportedly used the weapon to slash two supporters of the ‘United National Movement’ in the face.
After the fight, the victims were hospitalised.
‘Investigative and operative measures are being taken intensively to identify all persons involved in the incident and to impose appropriate legal responsibility,’ the Ministry said in a statement.
According to local media, Mikheil Daushvili also came to the rally armed, but unlike his son, he had a firearm.
Following the incident in Dmanisi, Tina Bokuchava, a prominent member of UNM, demanded that Mikheil Daushvili withdraw his candidacy and that people associated with him should be stricken from electoral lists.
Daushvili has also seen fierce criticism from leaders of his own party.
‘There is no justification for such a grave action, which we saw in Dmanisi. This is the only position we can have,’ said Georgian Dream chair Irakli Kobakhidze. ‘The perpetrator should be punished.’
EU Ambassador to Georgia Carl Hartzel also commented on the incident, stating that 'violence is another aspect of polarization that we still see during this election campaign'.
‘It's clear that violence has no place in a democratic election campaign. There's a need not only to condemn, as has been done in many of these instances, but also make sure that there is a proper legal follow-up,’ he told reporters.