The News in Brief
Thursday, March 20
Saakashvili suggests May 21 for elections
In comments made during his visit to the United States, President Mikheil Saakashvili suggested that the parliamentary elections would be scheduled for May 21.
“The opposition does not want parliamentary elections to be held after the Independence Day and military parade on March 26,” Saakashvili told Georgian journalists from New York.
“That’s why, in my opinion, it would be better to hold them before the Independence Day, possibly on May 21,” he said. (Black Sea Press)
Opposition leader’s campaign staff resigns en masse
More than dozen staffers from the election committee of opposition leader and independent MP Levan Gachechiladze have resigned.
The former chair of his election committee, Marina Tsereteli, blamed Gachechiladze’s “political ambiguity” in comments on March 18.
“I have worked with Gachechiladze for four years, and I know him well enough that I can say he has no clear vision of political developments in the country. That why I refuse to work with him [any longer],” Tsereteli said. (Black Sea Press)
‘Return Imedi’ protest to be held March 24
The eight-party opposition coalition will stage a rally outside parliament on March 24 to demand the return of pro-opposition television station Imedi TV.
Coalition member Goga Khaindrava said the authorities would be “rebuffed” by the rally, held in response to allegations that the government is trying to buy out Imedi TV, the pet project of deceased Georgian billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili. (Black Sea Press)
New party founded by ex-Patarkatsishvili allies
The Democratic Part of United Georgia held its founding congress yesterday.
Giorgi Shervashidze was nominated as party chairman.
According to party member Davit Shukakidze, the party will compete in the May parliamentary elections on a platform of peaceful restoration of Georgia’s territorial integrity.
The party’s founders include former members of late business tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili’s presidential campaign. (Prime News)
Tskhinvali accuses Georgian police of blockading villages
South Ossetia separatist officials are accusing Georgian forces of blockading two Ossetian-controlled villages in the separatist region.
The official separatist press service reported that Georgian police are searching cars leaving the de facto secessionist capital of Tskhinvali.
“Passengers are not allowed to transport products over one kilogram to Ossetian villages,” report claims. (Prime News)
CoE+GUAM Session held in Strasbourg
Cooperation between the Council of Europe and the GUAM (Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Moldova) member states was discussed at a CoE+GUAM session in Strasbourg yesterday.
Top officials of from GUAM member states’ foreign ministers, GUAM Secretary-General Valeri Chechelashvili and a representative for foreign affairs from the CoE participated in the session. (Black Sea Press)
Winter mountain training course finished
A winter mountain combat training course finished yesterday at the military training school in Sachkhere.
The four-week training course, on theory and practice of mountainous operations, was held in the Sachkhere and Bakuriani regions.
The course was conducted by 14 French-trained instructors. (Black Sea Press)