TBILISI, May 27 (Itar-Tass) —— The Georgian Dream opposition coalition formed and led by Bidzina Ivanishvili launched its election campaign in Tbilisi on Sunday. Georgia will elect a new parliament in fall.
A rally titled “Here we Start” began with a march of coalition members in three Tbilisi neighborhoods, the Vake Park, the Boris Paichadze National Stadium and the Avlabari metro station, towards Freedom Square. The leaders of parties affiliated to the coalition – the Republican Party, Our Georgia – Free Democrats, Industry Saves Georgia, the National Forum – and public figures led the march. Ivanishvili was leading one of the columns.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili stripped Ivanishvili of Georgian citizenship on October 11, 2011. By law, a person who is not a national of Georgia shall have no right to lead and finance a political party. The opposition member’s lawyers are working on the restoration of his naturalization. Ivanishvili proclaimed a start of his political career in early November 2011. He stopped being the Georgian citizen due to his simultaneous naturalization in Russia, which was prohibited by local laws.
The organizers said that the Sunday action was not a protest but symbolized the beginning of the Georgian Dream’s election campaign and the work towards the fulfillment of the Georgian dream. They also said they expected from 80,000 to 100,000 people to take part in the action. It is hard to estimate the number of participants as yet but Freedom Square and three streets adjoining it are full of people.
It was announced several hours before the action that the opposition Democratic Movement – United Georgia of ex-Speaker Nino Burjanadze would join it.