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13 Remain in Presidential Race
/ 6 Dec.'07 / 19:36
Civil Georgia

Thirteen prospective presidential candidates submitted the required minimum 50,000 supporters' signatures to the Central Election Commission (CEC) before the December 6 deadline.

Twenty two people had initially put forward their names as candidates for the January 5 early presidential elections. The figure then dropped to 16 and now stands at 13.

Mikheil Saakashvili – nominated by the ruling National Movement party - submitted 205,000 signatures.

Initially, the ruling party submitted 140,000 signatures but later added more, even though not legally required to do so.

Many have suggested that the additional signatures were collected to overshadow those of business tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. Leaked reports had suggested his campaign was about to submit over 200,000 signatures. His final tally on December 6 was 202,000.

The other eleven presidential hopefuls are:

• Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights Party, who submitted 165,000 signatures;

 Shalva Natelashvili, leader of the Labor Party, who submitted 75,000 signatures;

 Gia Maisashvili, leader of Party of Future; 68,000 signatures;

• Levan Gachechiladze, nominated by the nine-party opposition coalition; 63,000 signatures;

 Archil Ioseliani, a political unknown; 60,000 signatures;

• Irina Sarishvili, leader of the Russian-leaning Hope Party; 56,000 signatures;

 Kartlos Garibashvili, a lawyer and participant in previous presidential elections; 52,000 signatures;

 Levan Kidzinidze, a political unknown; 52,000 signatures;

 Giorgi Shervashidze, a former commander of Shevardnadze-era Interior troops, 51,000 signatures;

• Avtandil Margiani, who served as the deputy prime minister in the early 90s under Shevardnadze; 50,000 signatures;

• Shalva Kuprashvili, a political unknown, 50,000 signatures.

The CEC will check the lists of signatures within the next two days. In the event of inaccuracies the potential candidates will then have another two days to make corrections. The CEC will then rule on who is eligible to be registered as a presidential candidate. Levan Tarkhnishvili, the CEC Chairman, said the process should be finalised by December 11.

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