( Civil ) - Shalva Natelashvili, leader of opposition Labor Party who is running for presidency in the January 5 early polls, vowed free education and free medical care, as well as nationalization of "illegally privatized property."
Natelashvili was speaking with journalists outside one of the churches in Tbilisi marking launch of his election campaign on November 29.
The General Prosecutor's Office said on November 9 that Natelashvili would face charges relating to espionage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. The next day, however, it softened its stance and said "investigators have decided to question Natelashvili as a witness." Then President Saakashvili said that Natelashvili would not be arrested and he could "freely run for the presidency."
The Labor Party was part of a ten-party opposition coalition; however, following the bloc's nomination of independent lawmaker Levan Gachechiladze as its presidential candidate, the Labor Party decided to go solo.
Some politicians from the now nine-party opposition coalition have alleged that Natelashvili's decision was made under actual pressure from the authorities, which were trying to split the opposition coalition.
"We will have free education system and medical care will be financed from the state budget," Shalva Natelashvili said on November 29 while speaking about his election program. "Level of unemployment will be minimized, while temporary unemployed persons will receive compensations. There will be no poor and hungry in our country."
He also said that tariffs on gas, electricity and water consumption would be halved in the event he become the president.
"Taxes on use of forests and lands, rents on dwelling spaces will be abolished. Peasants will be given soft loans. The agricultural machinery and tractor stations will be created... We will establish a balanced investment system, preferential tax treatment for small and medium business."
Natelashvili also vowed state funding of GEL 1,000 (about USD 617) for each newborn.
He also said that in case of presidency he would restrict flow of migrant workers. "Raids of illegal migrant workers, who spread like mushrooms, will be restricted," Natelashvili said. "We, ourselves, have no enough jobs, so we cannot give them to others."
Natelashvili has also pledged to repay the state obligations towards depositors, meaning those, who had accounts in the banks in Soviet period and consequently lost them after the break up of the Soviet Union.
He also said that he would "pay due attention to political parties, opposition, non-governmental and civil society organizations." "All restrictions and censorship on mass media and electronic media will be removed," he added.