Bloomberg Anywhere Login

Bloomberg

Connecting decision makers to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas, Bloomberg quickly and accurately delivers business and financial information, news and insight around the world.

Company

Financial Products

Enterprise Products

Media

Customer Support

  • Americas

    +1 212 318 2000

  • Europe, Middle East, & Africa

    +44 20 7330 7500

  • Asia Pacific

    +65 6212 1000

Communications

Industry Products

Media Services

Follow Us

Georgian Saakashvili Targets Billionaire Premier in New Campaign

April 19 (Bloomberg) -- The party of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili unveiled a campaign to challenge billionaire Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who he accuses of steering the Black Sea nation toward Russia.

Saakashvili’s United National Movement used the first opposition rally since it lost its grip on power at an October election to present a new organization to help promote its long-term goals of entry into the European Union and North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“The New National Movement will be about protecting the country’s interests,” Giorgi Vashadze, a lawmaker from the party, told a crowd of thousands today in the capital, Tbilisi. “It’s not about hating Russia, it’s about respectful partnership, which eventually leads us to our territorial unity.”

Saakashvili’s party is battling to regain its popularity amid tensions with Ivanishvili, who’s pledged to improve the rule of law, raise living standards and revive relations with Russia. Ties between the nations have been icy since a five-day war in 2008 over a breakaway Georgian republic. Presidential elections are due in October, when Saakashvili’s final term ends.

While Ivanishvili has said Georgia will maintain efforts to join the EU, the government is seeking to regain Russian market access for agricultural products including cheese, fruit, vegetables and meat after bans on wine and mineral water imports were lifted.

As many as 49 percent of Georgians are dissatisfied with their country’s relationship with Russia, while 38 percent are happy, according to a survey funded by the Swedish International Development Agency. The March poll of 3,103 people had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

To contact the reporter on this story: Helena Bedwell in Tbilisi at hbedwell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

Please upgrade your Browser

Your browser is out-of-date. Please download one of these excellent browsers:

Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera or Internet Explorer.