The Presidential Elections 2013 in Georgia
23 candidates have been registered by the Central Election Commission – the highest number in the country’s history.
by Ana Dabrundashvili
1. Giorgi Margvelashvili, 44
Party: Coalition Georgian Dream
Profile: Giorgi Margvelashvili, doctor of philosophy, has been a long-standing member of the academia and headed the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs in Tbilisi. With little history in politics, he was appointed as the Minister of Education after the Parliamentary elections in 2012 and resigned, serving less than a year in the office, to run for president.
2. Davit Bakradze, 41
Party: United National Movement
Profile: Davit Bakradze, a physicist turned public servant, for the third time in a row is serving as a member of Parliament, starting from 2004. He held the position of Chairman of the Parliament in 2008-2012. In 2008 Bakradze was also appointed the head of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where his career initially began in late 1990s. He strongly supports EU and NATO integration.
3. Nino Burjanadze, 49
Party: Democratic Movement-United Georgia
Profile: Nino Burjanadze, a lawyer, served 13 years as a member of the Parliament (1995-2008) and twice became the acting president of Georgia (in 2003 and 2007). Being one of the leaders of the Rose Revolution, she turned against Mikheil Saakashvili in 2008 and has been trying to return to power ever since. Burjanadze is thought to be supporting the pro-Russian foreign policy.
4. Shalva Natelashvili, 55
Party: Labor Party
Profile: Shalva Natelashvili, a lawyer, founded Labor Party back in 1995. Always in opposition, Natelashvili is known for his eloquent criticism of the government (whichever would be currently in power) and populist speeches. Natelashvili does not support NATO membership.
5. Giorgi Targamadze,39
Party: Christian Democratic Movement
Profile: Giorgi Targamadze, a journalist, began a political career during Shevardnadze times as a member of Aslan Abashidze’s (former Ajarian leader) team and was elected to the Parliament in 1999. Shortly before Abashidze was discredited for an apparent misuse of power and fled the country, Targamadze left the Parliament to become a popular TV host. In 2008 he founded Christian Democratic Movement and was elected to the Parliament again. Believed by many to be a pseudo-opposition, Targamadze’s CDM lost popularity after Parliamentary elections. Targamadze supports EU and NATO membership and strong Church.
6. Koba Davitashvili, 42
Party: People’s Party
Profile: Koba Davitashvili has been elected to the Parliament as a member of the Georgian Dream, yet he recently left the Coalition to run as an independent candidate. Davitashvili has been aligning with different opposition parties throughout years and managed to get into the Parliament twice. Known for his conservatism, Davitashvili unsuccessfully lobbied a ban on gambling.
7. Zurab Kharatishvili
Party: Georgia’s European Democrats
Profile: Zurab Kharatishvili, a professional auditor, resigned this summer from the post of the Chairman of Central Election Commission to run for the president. Regarded as a UNM person, Kharatishvili also served as the member of the Board of the Georgian Public Broadcaster.
8. Mikheil Gela Saluashvili, 55
Party: Union for Restoration of Justice – Voice of the Nation: the Lord is Our Truth
Profile: Mikheil Saluashvili is a supporter of theocratic rule and is keen on religious symbolism. He has been developing his ideas of incorporating Orthodox Church into the state rule for years though he is a newcomer to political arena.
Other candidates: Akaki Asatiani, Nugzar Avaliani, Tamaz Bibiluri, Teimuraz Bobokhidze, Levan Chachua, Nino Chanishvili, Giorgi Chikhladze, Mamuka Chokhonelidze, Kartlos Gharibashvili, Sergo Javakhidze, Nestan Kirtadze, Giorgi Liluashvili, Avtandil Margiani, Mamuka Melikishvili, Teimuraz Mzhavia