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Labor Party Leader Makes Presidential Bid

Shalva Natelashvili, leader of the opposition Labor Party, said he would run in the January 5 presidential elections.

?I will do my best to ensure that the country finally bids farewell to darkness, violence, hunger and poverty. I will do my best to ensure that our country returns to its historical roots, restores its brightness in order to revive our science, education, culture, in order to protect our churches,? Natelashvili said.

He said that ?although some opposition parties have refused to support my presidential bid? he would be willing to invite them to join his future coalition government. 

?We invite them to join a coalition government of national unity, which should jointly lead the country to new victories,? Natelashvili said.

The Labor Party was part of a ten-party opposition coalition; however, following the bloc’s nomination of independent lawmaker Levan Gachechiladze as its presidential candidate, the Labor Party decided to go solo.

Natelashvili said that he was willing to challenge President Saakashvili in a TV debate, ?to show the entire country, where darkness is and where light is.?

His remarks were made in an obvious allusion to a government-sponsored political music video, which is being aired by local television stations. A singer chants the words ?? darkness and light?? and with the word “darkness” a photo of Natelashvili appears, while Mikheil Saakashvili’s image is shown just as the word “light” is said.

Today?s press conference was the first by Natelashvili since the November 7 unrest in Tbilisi. The General Prosecutor?s Office said on November 9 that Natelashvili would face charges relating to espionage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. The next day, however, it softened its stance and said ?investigators have decided to question Natelashvili as a witness.? Then President Saakashvili said that Natelashvili would not be arrested and he could ?freely run for the presidency.?

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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