Much of the voter indecision is attributable to a weak economy, rising prices, and what critics say are unfulfilled promises from the Georgian Dream-led government of Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
Saakashvili -- who is wanted in Georgia on charges of exceeding presidential authority, embezzlement, corruption, and brutality that he says are politically motivated -- was referring to Bidzina Ivanishvili, the billionaire tycoon-cum-prime minister who founded Georgian Dream to topple Saakashvili's allies in the 2012 elections and is still widely seen as pulling the party strings.
Saakashvili has vowed to return to Georgia, which has stripped him of his citizenship, if the United National Movement wins the elections.
Reportedly backed by wealthy business interests, little is known about the charismatic Burchuladze’s political views, and rumors abound that he has a secret supporter who is using the bloc to chip away at support for one of the main parties. Success for State For The People could come at the expense of former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania’s pro-Western Free Democrats or the Republican Party of Georgia.
“I think maybe there's not such great love for the West in Georgia at the moment, but I think it's the only game in town,” he said. “Russia really offers nothing [to Georgia].”
He added that a “peaceful” vote is of great importance and Georgia needs to deliver a “normal European-style election...in which there are no obvious, flagrant irregularities.”