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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Wednesday, March 5
“Ramaz Klimiashvili: in the parliamentary elections, the Georgian political spectrum should not be blended together!”

In an interview with Akhali Taoba, political analyst Ramaz Klimiashvili says the opposition coalition had the right strategy when they backed a single candidate in the January 5 presidential election, but they are making a mistake by running on a joint ticket in the spring parliamentary elections.

“This would confuse the voters, as [eight] parties with totally different political viewpoints cannot be listed on the same electoral list,” Klimiashvili says, adding that the political spectrum should not be blended together in the parliamentary elections.

Klimiashvili speculates that the more “intellectual part” of the moderate Republican Party was behind its recent decision to split off from the opposition coalition.

“There are five to six powerful political leaders in the Republican Party, and if they stayed in the opposition coalition only one of then would be in the top ten slots on the list. This would not be fair, of course,” the analyst says.

He predicts the opposition could win a parliamentary majority in fair elections, if they continue to advocate moving to a ‘European’ model of government, with a strengthened parliament and weakened presidency.

“Nino Burjanadze and Sandro Kvitashvili visited an assisted living home in Savaneti to wish residents a happy Mother’s Day”

Rezonansi covers the March 3 visit of Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze and Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs Sandro Kvitashvili to a home for the elderly in Savaneti, where they wished the residents well on Mother’s Day.

The officials brought along presents. The Labor Ministry arranged for 80 new mattresses, a year’s supply of sugar courtesy of the Agara sugar refinery and personal computers.

“It’s vitally important that visits like these are made more frequently, as elderly people need our attention and support. Everyone should remember that none of us can escape old age,” Burjanadze said.

“Akaki Asatiani: if the parliamentary elections are rigged, the country will face a huge political and economic crisis!”

Sakartvelos Respublika quotes Akaki Asatiani, leader of the marginal Traditionalists movement, as saying: “If the administration rigs the upcoming parliamentary elections, the country will face a huge political and economic crisis, as well a tense situation in the conflict regions.”

Asatiani says every Georgian government has tried to condense the election process into a short time frame, so the opposition, outmatched by the authorities’ material resources, do not have time to mount a strong campaign.

“Saakashvili was actively using this [tactic] during the January 5 presidential elections, and he continues to now,” Asatiani says.

In normal countries, Asatiani says, election campaigns last at least a year and a half.

“In Georgia, election campaigns are a joke,” he tells the paper. “People don’t have enough time to make the correct choice.”

Voters need at least four or five months to learn about party’s positions, he recommends.

“Georgia to take part in an international tourism exhibition in Paris”

From March 13–17 in Paris, Akhali Taoba writes, Georgia will be represented in an international tourism exhibition.

The state and Adjara tourism departments and local tour companies will participate, with a Georgian wine tasting as part of the opening ceremony.

About 2000 tour companies are expected to make their pitch to over 25 000 visitors.

The state Tourism Department says Georgia’s participation in the exhibition is important, as the number of French tourists to Georgia is increasing every year. To maintain that interest, the Tourism Department says, a promotional campaign needs to be kept up.