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11 Dec, 2007 15:54

Seven battle for Georgia’s presidency

Georgian voters will have the choice of seven presidential candidates when they cast their ballots on January 5. Registration is now complete for the early election.

Those running include the most recent President Mikhail Saakashvili and leading opposition candidate Levan Gachechiladze.

Also in the running is Badri Patarkatsishvili – a Georgian businessman who lives in London and is known for his sharp criticism of the government.

Initially 22 people wanted to stand for president, but later some withdrew, while others failed to collect the 50 thousand signatures required to be eligible or prove the validity of those signatures.

The denied applicants still have a chance to appeal in court. Three rejected applicants have done just that.

The snap vote was called after Mikhail Saakashvili quit the post in November amid mass anti-government rallies.

The official list of presidential candidates is as follows:
1. Levan Gachechiladze (43-year-old, nominated by United Opposition);
2. Arkady (Badri) Patarkatsishvili (52, activist group of citizens);
3. David Gamkrelidze (43, New Rightists Party);
4. Shalva Natelashvili (49, Labor Party);
5. Mikhail Saakashvili (39, National Movement Party);
6. Georgy Maisashvili (45, Future of Georgia Party);
7. Irina Sarishvili (45, Imedi Party).

According to Georgian Election Code, all Georgian presidential candidates are granted immunity.