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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Thursday, December 20

“Youths supporting Mikheil Saakashvili are uniting”

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that the Regional Development Center, a local NGO, officially joined the headquarters for youth supporters of incumbent presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili on December 18.

NGO representative Zurab Burchuladze said his organization made the decision after reviewing the platforms of all seven presidential candidates.

He said Regional Development Center will support Georgian unity and progress, which motivates them to join Saakashvili’s wing of young supporters.

“Together with the youth headquarter we will take part in all campaign events, and we will implement various campaign projects,” Burchuladze said.

The NGO has branch offices in a number of Georgia’s regions, including secessionist Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“The Republicans accuse Saakashvili of putting pressure on citizens”

Republican Party members claim that state employees and teachers were forced to go to a Batumi campaign rally for incumbent presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili on December 18, according to Rezonansi.

That day, Republican representative Murman Dumbadze said Saakashvili’s campaign workers were coercing people into the center of Batumi. Local Adjaran officials say there is no truth to the claim.

“Shalva Natelashvili promises to help journalists working in the regions”

Labor Party presidential candidate Shalva Natelashvili met with journalists working in Georgian’s regions on December 18, Akhali Taoba reports.

Natelashvili claimed the media, particularly in the regions, are under pressure from the authorities.

“I promise that if any pressure is applied on any regional journalist, and they are terrorized by the authorities, the Labor Party will do its best to investigate and publicize the case,” Natelashvili said.

He also briefed the journalists on his presidential platform.

“Irina Sarishvili met with deputy ambassador of Great Britain”

Rezonansi reports that presidential candidate Irina Sarishvili alleged voter fraud in a meeting with British Embassy official Karen Moran on December 18.

“I paid special attention to the increased number of the voters in Georgia [registered to take] part in the presidential elections scheduled on January 5,” Sarishvili is quoted as saying. “The numbers are one million higher than they should be compared to statistical data.”

According to the newspaper, Moran said Sarishvili’s presidential platform included interesting ways to address the country’s problems.

“George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies seminar opens in Tbilisi”

Akhali Taoba reports that on December 18, the Joint Staff of the Ministry of Defense began a three-day seminar in Tbilisi called, “Security, stability, transition and reconstruction operations.”

The seminar is organized by the Defense Ministry and the Regional Education Team of the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

The seminar’s opening lecture was dedicated to military and government officials’ role in peacekeeping operations. Issues including the Georgia’s participation in peacekeeping operations were discussed. Also expected to be discussed are coalition and interdepartmental operations, the role of the media, and command and control structures in peacekeeping operations.

The seminar, which will conclude on December 20, is conducted by Colonel James Howcroft and a group from the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.