Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

REPORTERS

Video: Syrian student risks her life to film IS group stronghold

Read more

FOCUS

The Iraqi TV show where victims confront terrorists

Read more

WEB NEWS

Hong Kong protesters use Firechat to evade censorship

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

US media reacts to ebola scare

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: Center for Disease Control Confirms First Case of Virus in US (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

How to Stop Ebola: Center for Disease Control Confirms First Case of Virus in US

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

I will support Hillary Clinton, will.i.am tells France 24

Read more

FOCUS

Germany: Spread of radical Islam propaganda sparks concerns

Read more

ENCORE!

Corrie Nielsen: Up and Coming Talent at Paris Fashion Week

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)