Twenty two people have expressed an interest in running in the January 5 early presidential elections, Levan Tarkhnishvili, the chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC), said on November 26 after the submission deadline had passed.
The list includes: Mikheil Saakashvili, the leader of National Movement Party; Levan Gachechiladze, an independent lawmaker nominated by the nine-party opposition coalition; MP Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party; Shalva Natelashvili, leader of Labor Party; Badri Patarkatsishvili, a business and media tycoon; Giorgi Maisashvili, leader of Party of Future; Irina Sarishvili, leader of Russian-leaning Hope Party; Giorgi Gachechiladze, leader of Green Party; Kartlos Garibashvili, a lawyer who also participated in previous presidential elections; Giorgi Shervashidze, commander of interior troops in ex-President Shevardnadze’s government; Teimuraz Shashiashvili, who served as Governor of the Imereti region in ex-President Shevardnadze’s administration; Avtandil Margiani, who served as the deputy prime minister in the early 90s under Shevardnadze.
The other candidates - Giorgi Korganashvili; Levan Kidzinadze; Tamaz Bibiluri; Shalva Kuprashvili; Shalva Tsertsvadze; Fazil Aliyev; Giorgi Gakhokidze; Gia Chkhikvadze; Archil Ioseliani and Avtandil Pilauri - are all political unknowns.
The presidential hopefuls must now collect at least 50,000 signatures in support of their registration as official candidates. The signatures must be submitted to the CEC by December 5.