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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Thursday, January 10

“Police arrest brother of opposition coalition member Jondi Baghaturia”

Akhali Taoba reports that patrol police arrested Alkazar Baghaturia, brother of Kartuli Dasi leader and opposition coalition member Jondi Baghaturia, after a scuffle on Election Day.

Police charge him with damaging someone’s mobile phone at a polling station on January 5. If convicted, Baghaturia faces either a fine or up to three years’ imprisonment, according to the newspaper.

Prosecutors won two-month pretrial detention for Baghaturia; they say he does not have his own flat in Tbilisi, creating problems in the investigation process if he is released on bail.

Baghaturia’s lawyers are contesting the charges. They admit that a confrontation took place at a polling station, but that Baghaturia did not deliberately damage the mobile phone.

“Swedish edition compares Saakashvili with Russian President Putin” A Swedish newspaper ran a lengthy article on the January 5 presidential election, Rezonansi writes. It claims similarities between incumbent candidate Mikheil Saakashvili’s maneuvers to hold power and those of northern antagonist Vladimir Putin.

The newspaper asserts that the presidential election in Georgia and the December parliamentary elections in Russia were entirely similar.

“Lagodekhi has a new gamgebeli”

Lagodekhi, a small border town in eastern Kakheti province, has a new gamgebeli (district head), according to Akhali Taoba.

Three candidates vied for the post; acting gamgebeli Eka Labuchidze won the position.

The gamgebeli is chosen by members of the sakrebulo, or local council. Labuchidze says she is now planning staff changes in the council.

“Every employee in the Lagodekhi sakrebulo should be a real professional and experienced person,” Labuchidze said.

“Abkhaz separatist officials deny Gali residents participated in Georgian presidential election”

Sakartvelos Respublika quotes de facto Abkhaz separatist officials as categorically denying that ethnic Georgian residents of Abkhazia’s Gali district crossed the breakaway region’s administrative border to vote in the January 5 presidential election.

According to the Abkhaz police chief in Gali district, no one went to Zugdidi, the first large town across the administrative border from secessionist Abkhazia, to vote.

“Georgian journalists are deceiving the people when they say that Gali residents went to Zugdidi to vote on January 5,” the police chief said.

Note: The Tbilisi-backed Abkhazian government-in-exile counts about 9 000 Georgians from Gali who went to Zugdidi to vote. The government-in-exile also claim that Abkhaz separatist militia are still holding 35 ethnic Georgians for election campaigning.

“Armenian President Robert Kocharyan congratulates Saakashvili on presidential election victory”

Rezonansi reports that Armenian President Robert Kocharyan officially congratulated incumbent Mikheil Saakashvili on his reelection in the January 5 snap presidential election.

“I congratulate you on your reelection to a second term as president of Georgia. I am sure that you will continue to pass reforms that strengthen stability and democracy in the region. Armenia thinks that establishing good neighboring relationships in the South Caucasus is a guarantee of stability. I wish you the success, health and all the best,” reads the official letter of congratulations sent by Kocharyan.