Election poses challenge for Georgia's Saakashvili

AP News
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Posted: Sep 28, 2012 2:14 PM
Election poses challenge for Georgia's Saakashvili

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Georgia's president is warning that the upcoming parliamentary election may threaten to take the country back to a dark past of organized crime and Russian domination.

Mikhail Saakashvili's party, the United National Movement, now holds nearly 80 percent of the seats in parliament, but is facing a tough challenge in Monday's vote from Georgian Dream, a coalition formed by Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire businessman who made his fortune in Russia.

Speaking to tens of thousands of supporters Friday night, Saakashvili cast the vote as a choice between moving forward or falling back into the past. After Saakashvili's second and last term ends next year, the party that has a majority in parliament will name the prime minister, who will acquire many of the powers now held by the president.