Giorgi Gachechiladze, the leader of the small opposition Green Party, said on December 5 he was withdrawing from the presidential race in favor of Levan Gachechiladze, a presidential hopeful backed by the nine-party opposition alliance.
“We fully share Levan Gachechiladze’s drive to turn the country into a parliamentary republic and it will be much better to join forces with a leading presidential contender to resist the administrative machine [of the authorities] ahead of the polls,” Giorgi Gachechiladze said at a joint news conference with Levan Gachechiladze.
The Greens' decision now means that there are 16 remaining presidential candidates. Tamaz Bibiluri and Fazil Aliyev have also withdrawn from the race.
All but Mikheil Saakashvili have thus far failed to submit the required 50,000 signatures of supporters to the Central Election Commission in order to be officially registered as a candidate. The former president submitted 140,000 signatures. Levan Gachechiladze’s campaign office said it planned to submit 70,000 signatures on December 5.