(BBC) - Exiled tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili has said he will run in snap presidential elections called to quell an escalating crisis in Georgia.
Mr Patarkatsishvili - whom authorities accuse of plotting a coup - called the government "completely discredited".
His pledge came after government and opposition leaders met in Tbilisi for the first time since police broke up violent protests there on Wednesday.
The severity of the government response to the protests has shocked onlookers.
Despite President Mikhail Saakashvili's pledge to call a presidential poll on 5 January, a state of emergency remains in force banning public demonstrations and independent news broadcasts.
A high-level US state department official is expected to add his voice to European demands to lift the state of emergency when he arrives in Tbilisi on Saturday.
But President Saakashvili - who accuses Russian agents of destabilising the country, a charge which Moscow denies - has said it will remain in force as long as necessary.