Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Spain 'goes nuclear' on Catalonia

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton says Trump 'channels' racism

Read more

THE DEBATE

Moment of truth: Spain sets in motion direct rule over Catalonia

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Must it come down? Market analysts bracing for correction

Read more

FOCUS

Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto to vote on autonomy

Read more

THE POLITICAL BRIEF

France considers tough new laws to crack down on sexual harassment

Read more

ENCORE!

Inside the new Yves Saint Laurent museum in Morocco

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

California: When your home is reduced to ashes

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

#balancetonporc: Sexual harassment and gender inequality in France

Read more

Europe

Georgians turn out for billionaire presidential hopeful

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-05-27

Georgians took to the streets of Tbilisi on Sunday to show their support for French-Georgian billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili – the country’s richest man – who launched his bid to oust President Mikheil Saakashvili this week.

AFP - Tens of thousands of Georgians rallied in the capital Sunday as the ex-Soviet state's richest man launched his bid to oust President Mikheil Saakashvili's governing party at elections later this year.

Supporters of billionaire tycoon turned opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream opposition alliance packed into Tbilisi's Freedom Square for the lavishly-staged rally intended as a show of strength ahead of October's polls, an AFP correspondent reported.

It was the biggest rally since 2009 by an opposition revitalised by the super-rich businessman's intervention, although opinion polls suggest his alliance trails behind the governing party.

Georgia's most famous footballer Kakha Kaladze, who recently retired from playing in Italy's Serie A, told the crowd that Saakashvili must quit.

"Misha (Saakashvili), your time is up. Go!" Kaladze said.

Before the rally, columns of Ivanishvili supporters marched through the city.

"We need real democracy, real freedom, not Saakashvili's fairy tales," said one participant, unemployed Juliet Tsulaia.

Ivanishvili, worth $6.4 billion (5.1 billion dollars) according to Forbes magazine, was stripped of his Georgian passport for violating citizenship laws after announcing his challenge to Saakashvili last year.

However parliament this month voted to change the constitution to allow EU citizens like Ivanishvili, who holds a French passport, to contest parliamentary polls.

Saakashvili's allies have accused the businessman, who made his fortune in Russia, of being a stooge for Georgia's enemies in Moscow, which fought a brief war with Tbilisi in 2008.

Date created : 2012-05-27

  • ISRAEL

    Israel accuses Iran over bomb attacks in India and Georgia

    Read more

  • SOUTH OSSETIA

    Breakaway Georgian region South Ossetia votes for new president

    Read more

  • DIPLOMACY

    Sarkozy visits Georgia on last leg of Caucasus tour

    Read more

COMMENT(S)