TBILISI, July 2 (Itar-Tass) - The presidential campaign has been officially launched in Georgia in the run-up to the presidential election scheduled for October 31, representatives of the Central Election Commission told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.
The Election Code envisages that after the election date is officily appointed the candidates who run for presidency may begin preparations for canvassing. The minimal age for a candidate eligible to run is 35 years; a candidate should have been living in Georgia for five years before he runs for presidency and no less than three years after the election date is officially appointed. A candidate is to be nominated either by political parties or initiative groups numbering five each and has to submit at least 25,000 voters' signatures in his support.
Several candidates have already been announced: Shalva Natelashvili from the opposition Labor Party; Vice-premier of the Georgian government, Education Minister Georgy Margvelashvili nominated by the ruling coalition the Georgian Dream; leader of the Democratic Movement - United Georgia, ex-speaker Nino Burdzhanadze, who is a member of the People's Assembly forum, was nominated for presidency by this organization.
In recent days Nino Burdzhanadze has declared that she is confident of her own victory if the election is held in a free and fair atmosphere. Burdzhanadze said she well knows the aspirations of the people and that she is confident that she will win under conditions of a normal competition and free and fair election.
The United National Movement - the former ruling party headed by incumbent President Saakashvil , intends to nominate its candidate upon completion of the primaries which began within the party last week and would continue until the end of July. According to the Georgian Constitution, Mikhail Saakaashvili, who has served two presidential terms, has no right to run for presidency again.