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The News in Brief

Tuesday, January 22
Russia demands Saakashvili postpones speech at PACE session

The Russian PACE delegation has demanded that President Mikheil Saakashvili postpone a speech now scheduled for January 24, at the winter session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

The Russian delegation object to the invitation of the political leader to address the organization shortly before key parliamentary elections in Georgia, claiming it amounts to a show of support for Saakashvili and his party. (Prime News)

French courts hear Okruashvili case

A French court heard the case of former defense minister Irakli Okruashvili January 21, according to his lawyer, Eka Beselia.

He is seeking political asylum in France, claiming that he would be politically persecuted if he is extradited to Georgia.

Okruashvili was first arrested in September, days after announcing a new opposition party, and accused of corruption during his time in office. He left Georgia on November 1, the day before planned anti-government protests, and was arrested in Germany in December, before being handed over to France. (Prime News)

Georgian delegation leaves for Strasbourg PACE session

A parliamentary delegation left for Strasbourg to attend a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on January 21–25.

The session is discussing two broad issues concerning Georgia. On January 21 PACE rapporteur Matyas Eorsi was scheduled to present an assessment of the January 5 presidential election and on January 24 the session is due to consider an annual report concerning the fulfillment of Georgia’s commitments to the Council of Europe.

On January 24 newly-inaugurated President Mikheil Saakashvili will give a speech at the session. (Black Sea Press)

United opposition meet German state minister

Opposition coalition representatives Salome Zourabichvili, Levan Gachechiladze and Jondi Baghaturia met German state minister Gernot Erler at the Tbilisi Marriott on January 21.

“We expressed our attitude and talked about the protest against election violations [held on the day of inauguration]. We also spoke about the necessity of restoring democratic processes in Georgia,” Zourabichvili told journalists after the meeting.

Levan Gachechiladze said the united opposition will present an action plan in a week, in which they will outline their plans for parliamentary elections, which are expected to be held this spring. (Prime News)

Georgian government formally resigns

Government officials resigned as a formality yesterday shortly after President Mikheil Saakashvili began his second term in office.

Petre Mamradze, a State Chancellery representative, told journalists that in accordance with official procedure, the president will now appoint a new cabinet which must be presented to parliament for approval within seven days of his inauguration, January 27.

Among the ministers expected not to be reappointed to cabinet positions are Economic Development Minister Giorgi Arveladze and Giorgi Gabashvili, Minister of Culture, Monument Protection and Sport. (Prime News)