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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Wednesday, February 27
“Ramaz Klimiashvili: the opposition will not be able to agree on a joint candidate list for the upcoming parliamentary elections!”

Akhali Taoba interviews political analyst Ramaz Klimiashvili, who predicts the nine-party opposition coalition won’t manage to agree on a single list of candidates for the parliamentary elections.

The coalition parties, some of which have five or six MPs in parliament and some of which have none, will run into problems when it comes to ranking candidates on the list, he says.

“I think the electoral list will be the main reason for the splitting up of the opposition coalition. The opposition coalition includes [nine] parties; this means that the top [nine] names on the electoral list will be one candidate from each party. This will be unacceptable for them,” the analyst says.

An alternative for the coalition, he adds, is for each party to have their own slate of candidates but a united campaign.

“It is vitally important for them to have a united front. And it won’t matter if the New Rights, Republicans or others have separate electoral lists. The main thing is that the opposition coalition members do not cease cooperating with each other,” Klimiashvili concludes.

“Jondi Baghaturia: if the government does not fulfill its promises, permanent hunger strikes will start!”

Rezonansi quotes oppositional Kartuli Dasi leader Jondi Baghaturia as saying an agreement was reached with the government on February 21, but that the opposition could go back to hunger strikes if necessary.

The government and the opposition are now jointly working to replace the Georgian Public Broadcaster chief and the chair of the Central Elections Commission, and to release ‘political prisoners.’

“The opposition always has a lever [in the threat] to start mass hunger strikes if the authorities do not fulfill their promises. Trust me, we do not want to take such strong measures, but our goal is for the country to move into an election campaign and for political tension to be neutralized as much as possible,” Baghaturia told the paper.

“Abkhaz side threatens to kill Georgian and Russian customs officers”

Akhali Taoba sensationally writes that separatist Abkhaz militants are threatening to attack the Psou border checkpoint.

The checkpoint is on the de jure Georgian-Russia border, but the Georgian side is within Abkhaz separatist-controlled territory and Georgian border guards have no presence there.

The newspaper claims that the “illegal Gantiadi-Adler customs checkpoint,” along with the Roki Tunnel border point in South Ossetian-controlled territory, will be “legalized” after a Georgian-Russian agreement in return for Georgia support for Russian WTO membership.

The newspaper cites unnamed separatists as warning that Georgian border agents who join the Russian agents there will be killed.

“Azerbaijan is interested in Georgian Railways”

Azerbaijani Transport Minister Zia Mamedov says his country is ready to bid in the expected privatization of Georgian Railways, according to Sakartvelos Respublika.

American, Russian, Swiss and Kazakhstani companies have already submitted proposals to the Georgian government.

“Azerbaijan is very interested in the project and is ready to present its proposal to Georgia,” Mamedov reportedly said.