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The News in Brief

Wednesday, February 13

Targamadze urges embattled officials to resign voluntarily

Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the newly-formed Christian-Democratic Party, has called on the Central Election Commission chair and the director general of the public television broadcaster to resign.

Targamadze said that for the sake of the country’s stability, the two officials should resign to facilitate dialogue between the opposition and the government.

The opposition coalition is demanding the resignation of those two officials, along with the release of “political prisoners,” before talks with the government can continue.

Targamadze pledged his party’s support to the opposition coalition’s demands, and said they would join the scheduled mass protest on February 15. (Prime News)

Sarishvili accuses opposition leaders of holding double standards

Irina Sarishvili, a former presidential candidate and leader of the Imedi Party, is accusing other opposition leaders of holding double standards in their campaign for concessions from the government.

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Sarishvili said her party is upset that the list of “political prisoners” drawn up by the nine-party opposition coalition does not include the imprisoned supporters of former security chief Igor Giorgadze.

“The detainees’ family members met with several leaders of the opposition coalition, but they refused to include those detainees on the list,” Sarishvili said.

Sarishvili, a top opposition leader in the Shevardnadze era, dismissed the opposition coalition’s planned February 15 protest as “party of a theatrical performance prior to the parliamentary elections.”

The coalition is “treating people dishonestly,” she claimed, which could lead the people to turn on them.

“People may change the gesture frequently used by the opposition—a thumbs up—and instead show a middle finger,” she said. (Black Sea Press)

NATO Information Center holds seminar for students

On February 11, the NATO Information Center held a seminar for students of the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs.

The seminar was to brief students on the role of NATO in the world, and the progress Georgia is making toward membership in the Alliance.

Former foreign minister and current chair of the Atlantic Council of Georgia Irakli Menagarishvili spoke at the seminar.

The NATO information center is planning monthly seminars in a number of Georgian higher education institutes. (Black Sea Press)

Shevardnadze’s former allies consider parliamentary election bid

Former political allies of ex-president Eduard Shevardnadze are considering competing in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Temur Shashiashvili, leader of the Forward Georgia movement, told journalists that former members of Shevardnadze’s now-defunct Citizens’ Union of Georgia party may create an electoral bloc called “For a Stronger State.”

“Our participation in the elections depends on whether the opposition is able to make a strong bloc and win a constitutional majority in parliament. In that case, we will not participate in the elections but will support the opposition,” Shashiashvili said.

Shashiashvili declined to name who could be involved in the new group, saying only that an official announcement would be made soon. (Black Sea Press)

Prime minister on Dubai trip

Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze is to pay an official visit to Dubai from February 13–15.

While in the United Arab Emirates, Gurgenidze will discuss the planned free economic zone around the port town of Poti. (Black Sea Press)

Kutaisi public school teachers back on strike

Teachers at Kutaisi public school No 14 resumed their strike yesterday.

The teachers say they have not been given the government utilities vouchers promised to them months ago.

Local officials say the teachers should receive their vouchers by tonight. (Prime News)