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Georgian President to resign on Sunday

Georgia's leader Mikhail Saakashvili will resign on November 25 in the run-up to early Presidential elections. The parliament speaker will act as head of state until the January 5 poll.

The election was called after police violently broke up political demonstrations in the capital Tbilisi earlier this month.  A state of emergency followed and independent news reports were taken off air.  

Originally, the vote was scheduled for next autumn.

Several opposition candidates have already announced they'll run against Saakashvili.

One of those is Levan Gachechiladze, who's representing nine opposition parties. He says Georgian people will benefit from a variety of candidates.

“This is an unusual election. This is fighting against violence and for the freedom of the Georgian people,” Gachechiladze said.

“I do not think there is a risk in having a lot of opposition candidates because those who took to Tbilisi's streets to protest, as well as other Georgians, will fight against violence for their honour and decent living in Georgia,”  he said.

“Besides, I believe we'll have consultations with other opposition candidates and we will, above all, focus on how to liberate Georgia from Saakashvili's regime,” he said.

Speaking about his election campaign, Gachechiladze said it’s going to be ‘quite unusual’ because of ‘enormous pressure’ from authorities.

“I plan to hold a lot of meetings with people, rallies and demonstrations to have freedom of speech restored in Georgia,” he said.

The presidential candidate said he wanted Imedi TV back on the air so the authorities couldn't have it all their own way in the election campaign.  

Gachechiladze said his team would be campaigning for changes to Georgia's constitution and reform of the judicial system.

“Then we will outline economic, political and social reforms to remove pressure from the authorities in these areas,” Gachechiladze said.