Below are some of the comments of leaders from five opposition parties to business tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili’s announcement to run in the early presidential polls in January.
Davit Usupashvili, leader of Republican Party:
Mr. Patarkatsishvili can run for the presidency. He is a citizen of this country. As far as the opposition parties’ nomination is concerned, I can say that we have not yet discussed this issue.
When asked by Civil.Ge whether the opposition parties would consider supporting Patarkatsishvili’s candidacy, Usupashvili said: This is not yet on the agenda.
Kakha Kukava, leader of Conservative Party:
It is his decision on whether to run for the presidency or not. But the united opposition [Ten-party opposition coalition] will have its own candidate.
Pikria Chikhradze of New Rights Party (party leader Davit Gamkrelidze has already announced his intention to run for the presidency):
Mr. Patarkatsishvili is a citizen of Georgia and has the right to run in the elections. I do not think that criminal proceedings against him will be an obstacle for him to run. We do not think that evidence against Patarkatsishvili is firm and his public statements did not contain calls to overthrow the government. That is all I can say for now.
Zurab Tkemaladze, leader of Industrialist Party:
Everyone has a constitutional right to run for the presidency. Mr. Patarkatsishvili is a very influential person and he is capable of financing his campaign. But we have already expressed our sympathies towards Davit Gamkrelidze’s candidacy. If Gamkrelidze pulls out of the race, then we may discuss some other options.
Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia’s Way Party:
He has the right to run. No one can restrict him from running for the presidency. There is nothing else I can say on the issue.