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GDDG to Agree Presidential Candidate Later This Week, Parliament Speaker Says

Consultations in the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia over the party candidate for the upcoming presidential elections will be over tentatively by the end of this week, Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze told reporters on July 23.

“Several candidates were named when we held our initial consultations; there are many candidates in our team who could win the elections in the first round, but we should wait until the consultations are over,” Kobakhidze noted.

The Parliament Speaker spoke on the selection criteria as well, saying the principal discussion point at their consultations was whether the candidate should be partisan or not.

Kobakhidze detailed the preferences today, telling journalists that “it would not be bad to have a female candidate.” He also stressed the president, according to the country’s constitution should be “neutral and non-partisan.”

“Over the past five years, we have had a President who was loyal to specific political parties and we do not want that to repeat,” Kobakhidze said, adding that loyalty towards the ruling party would “in no way be a criteria.”

Vice Speaker Tamar Chugoshvili echoed Kobakhidze’s sentiments, saying it would be better for the country’s democratic development, if GDDG nominated a non-partisan candidate for the presidential polls.

According to media reports, the GDDG has been pondering over several nominees, among them Prime Minister’s Adviser Sozar Subari, Health Minister Davit Sergeenko, Regional Development Minister Maia Tskitishvili and independent MP Salome Zurabishvili.

On July 17, ten opposition parties named former Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze as their candidate. Former Parliament Speaker Davit Bakradze was nominated on July 21 by the opposition European Georgia party as its candidate.

Several other opposition leaders have also announced their intentions to run in the October polls, including Shalva Natelashvili of the Labor Party, Nino Burjanadze of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, and Zurab Japaridze of the New Political Center – Girchi.

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