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Saakashvili Names Academic as Head of Election Campaign

Mikheil Saakashvili, who is running for re-election in the January 5 early presidential polls, has selected an academic, not a politician, to lead his election campaign.

Pridon Todua, a founder and head of the Radiology Institute in Tbilisi, said it was an honor to be asked to lead Mikheil Saakashvili re-election bid.

Todua, who is a member of the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s (GPB) Board of Trustees, has never been engaged in politics before. He has, however, always been on good terms with the authorities.

Meanwhile, Gigi Tsereteli, a lawmaker from the ruling party and chairman of the parliamentary committee for healthcare issues, has in the last few days been acting as a spokesperson for Saakashvili’s re-election campaign – a somewhat unusual position for Tsereteli to occupy. Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava has also been taking the lead in Saakashvili’s re-election bid, often seen at the former president’s side as he hits the campaign trail.

Such high profile involvement is in marked contrast to the near absence of some heavyweight figures from Saakashvili’s inner circle, many of whom had taken a hardline position during the heated political standoff in early November.

“Much has been done, but many mistakes have also been made,” Gigi Ugulava said on December 3 at the opening of Saakashvili’s campaign headquarters, which is located in the Philharmonic Hall in Tbilisi. “But we should all give this government a chance to rectify those mistakes.”


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