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Adjara Supreme Council elections offer chance for Christian Dems

By M. Alkhazashvili

Translated by Davit Kipiani
Wednesday, July 30
The next elections to the Adjaran Supreme Council are expected to be this fall. The elections may be limited in region, but they are still important to assess the state of political power in the area, which by no means marches independently from the rest of the country.

Adjarans have roughly 300 000 votes up for grabs, and at question is whether the oppositionórelegated to an impotent minority in parliamentócan give a good enough performance to show vitality, and if so, which party it will be.

At the same time there may also be repeat parliamentary elections in two Tbilisi districts where opposition winners in May gave up their seats in protest of what they say was a rigged election.

In all three contests, the recently-founded centrist Christian Democrats are most overtly ready to compete. They won six seats in parliament, and unlike most of the rest of the opposition, have not written off Georgian elections as hopelessly fraud-ridden.

The moderate oppositional Republicans, which enjoy relative support in Adjara, have not made it clear whether they will compete in that region. They have already ruled out fielding candidates for the repeat parliamentary elections in Tbilisi. Party leaders say the elections are unfair and taking part is pointless.

The bulk of the opposition having been crushed in spring, there are no other viable opposition parties which could conceivably compete in fall elections. Failing a government sweep in Adjara, it looks likely that the Christian Democrats could make inroads there, at cost to the Republicans.