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The presidential countdown begins

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, September 25
On September 23, the Central Election Commission (CEC) finalized the number of registered candidates for the presidential election on October 27th. There are 23 candidates registered. This is the most in Georgia's election history (maybe even a Guinness record!)

Of the registered candidates, 10 were submitted by the political parties, whereas the other 13 independent candidates – were registered by initiative groups. The candidates represent different parties: Giorgi Margvelashvili represents the Georgian Dream coalition; Davit Bakradze - parliamentary opposition – former governing team; Nino Burjanadze – Democratic Movement-United Georgia; Shalva Natelashvili – Labour Party; Giorgi Targamadze – Christian-Democratic Movement; Koba Davitashvili – People’s Party; Zurab Kharatishvili, former CEC chairman - Georgia’s European Democrats; Akaki Asatiani – Traditionalists; Sergo Javakhidze – Justice for Georgia; Teimuraz Mzhavia - Christian-Democratic Party.

Only 7 of these candidates have the right to receive free advertising time in TV because they are parties qualified for the requirements of the election legislation. Although some of them will not have the opportunity to receive such benefits – including Nino Burjanadze.

There are some candidates among the 13 independent nominees who have taken part in the presidential race in previous years. For instance, Kartlos Gharibashvili participated in the previous three elections. Well-known politician and former member of the Labour Party, Nestan Kirtadze, is also among the independent candidates. There are some obscure people such as Mikheil Saluashvili, Levan Chachua, and Nugzar Avaliani, whose names are not familiar to the public.

Presumably, before the election, some of the candidates will voluntarily withdraw from the race, but this should be done before October 17, otherwise their names will still be included on the ballot papers.

Most analysts agree that in reality only Margvelashvili, Burjanadze and Bakradze have a real chance to win the election. Margvelashvili is the front-runner in the race. As for the rest of the challengers, some of them have the chance to receive several percent of the voters’ support, while others will have less then 1% support. For instance, Giorgi Targamadze, Shalva Natelashvili, Zurab Kharatishvili, Akaki Asatiani can receive more than 1%, possibly up to 3%(or little more).Of course, they will still interfere into the distribution of votes.

The chance to receive 3% of the votes will be crucial for the candidates. This achievement will be awarded with state financing; this will give them a chance to develop their future political career.