The FINANCIAL -- According to RIA Novosti, televised campaign broadcasts for candidates in Georgia's upcoming January 5 presidential elections began on December 17, national media reported.
According to Georgian legislation, candidates representing parties that cleared the 4% election threshold at the previous parliamentary polls are entitled to receive, free of charge, 60 seconds airtime every hour on state channels and 30 seconds per hour on private channels.
In his broadcast, Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of the Labor party, is shown among a crowd of supporters declaring the party's slogan - "free healthcare, free education, a rise in pensions".
The presidential candidate of the New Right opposition party, David Gamkrelidze, asks Georgians what kind of president they would like to have. In response to the query, 'ordinary people' answer that they would like to have an 'amiable' and 'honest' president who 'takes care of the country.'
In his pre-election broadcast, another opposition candidate, Levan Gachechiladze, reminds voters of the crackdown on protestors in the capital, Tbilisi, on November 7, as riot police moved in to break up six-day long demonstrations against President Mikheil Saakashvili.
The majority of pre-election broadcasts by Georgia's leader Mikheil Saakashvili are paid, and each lasts up to five minutes.
Another three candidates have also been registered for the presidential elections - Irina Sarishvili, head of the Imedi political movement and Khena anti-fascist coalition, Badri Patarkatsishvili, a foreign-based billionaire and Giorgy Maisashvili, the leader of the Future party.