Magnificent seven run for Georgian presidency

Seven candidates have applied to Georgia's Central Election Commission to run in January's presidential election. Among them is Georgian businessman and media tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili. Former President Mikhail Saakashvili is standing for re-electio

Candidates had until 6pm local time on Monday to register with the election authorities.

Mikhail Saakashvili resigned on Sunday in order to campaign ahead of polling day on the 5th of January.

In his first TV appearance as a candidate he defended the methods the police used in dispersing the opposition protests in Tbilisi on November the 7th.

In line with the constitution, Parliament Speaker Nino Burdzhanadze will temporarily take over presidential duties until after the election. This was also approved by the Parliament on Sunday.

Saakashvili's main rival

If anyone can thwart Saakashvili's hopes of re-election, it's Levan Gachechiladze.  He's been chosen as the candidate to represent the coalition of nine opposition parties. 

Levan Gachechiladze
Levan Gachechiladze

An independent MP, he rallied his supporters in the capital Tbilisi on Sunday. 

Ten thousand people marched to Georgia's parliament – the spot where police used force to disperse an opposition rally on November 7.

“Mikhail Saakashvili, I am repeating to you again – we are coming, you won't stop us! Autocracy is over!” Gachechiladze told enthusiastic supporters. 

Sunday's protest passed off without violence.

And another Saakahvili's rival will be Georgian businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili. He has confirmed that he in going to run for the presidency in January's election.