Seven presidential candidates have been officially registered by the Central Election Commission (CEC), making them eligible to run in the January 5 early election.
The final seven candidates are:
• Levan Gachechiladze, nominated by the nine-party opposition coalition;
• Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights Party;
• Gia Maisashvili, leader of the Party of Future.
• Shalva Natelashvili, leader of the Labor Party;
• Badri Patarkatsishvili, a business and media tycoon;
• Mikheil Saakashvili, the ex-president and leader of the ruling National Movement Party;
• Irina Sarishvili, the only female presidential candidate and the leader of the Russian-leaning Hope Party;
Initially, 22 people put their names forward as presidential candidates. Some of them withdrew from the race shortly afterwards, while others had their presidential hopes dashed by the CEC.
The CEC refused to register six would-be candidates, citing a failure to submit the required 50,000 supporters’ signatures. Those who failed to make it past the CEC requirements include:
Giorgi Shervashidze, a former commander of Shevardnadze-era Interior troops;
Kartlos Garibashvili, a lawyer and participant in previous presidential elections;
Avtandil Margiani, who served as the deputy prime minister in the early 90s under Shevardnadze;
Shalva Kuprashvili, a political unknown;
Archil Ioseliani, a political unknown;
Levan Kidzinidze, a political unknown.
Three of them - Avtandil Margiani, Archil Ioseliani and Kartlos Garibashvili – have, however, challenged the CEC decision and have appealed to Tbilisi City Court, claiming they had submitted enough supporters’ signatures to the CEC to be registered as candidates.