With tensions growing ahead of a key parliamentary election, Georgia’s opposition leader says he will not stir unrest if he loses in a fair vote.
The man hoping to loosen President Mikhail Sakashvili’s hold on power is Bidzina Ivanishvili – a once-reclusive tycoon whose net worth is close to half the country’s economic output.
His Georgian Dream party has been gaining in popularity since the release last week of video footage showing abuse of prisoners. The opposition claimed they showed a systematic failure of the ruling regime.
The videos sparked mass rallies with anti-government protesters burning brooms to show their anger.
But the President’s United National Movement has fought back, releasing its own videos of Georgian Dream candidates in discreditable situations.
Sakashvili is trying to portray Ivanishvili as a Russia stooge and at a final rally his promise that Georgia could not be sold drew a huge cheer.
The country goes to the polls on Monday.