Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

DR Congo : thousands welcome opposition leader Tshisekedi after two-year absence

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

'France 24' amongst French media to stop publishing jihadists' photos

Read more

THE DEBATE

Church attack aftermath - France's political fallout: who stands to benefit?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Safety at any cost in Israel

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: ‘Genius’, ‘The Secret Life of Pets’ and ‘Endless Summer’

Read more

FOCUS

Europe struggles to crack down on weapons trafficking

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

France priest terror attack: Is Europe helpless?

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Another drop in iPhone sales, so why are Apple shares rising?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Horror in the church: Priest 'assassinated by barbarians'

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)