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Complied by Liana Bezhanishvili
Monday, November 9
It is quite possible that next week Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be recognised by Belarus

Rezonansi writes that it is quite possible that Abkhazia and South Ossetia will be recognised by Belarus, following the lead of Nicaragua and Venezuela. Last week it became known that this issue is now slated to be considered by the Parliament of Belarus.

According to RIA Novosti a group has been created in the Belarus House of Representatives which will study Abkhazia and South Ossetia materials this week. The head of the Belarus President’s Administration states that public opinion on this issue will also be taken into consideration.

Georgian analysts do not discount the possibility that Belarus will recognise the Georgian occupied territories as independent states. “Russia is trying to influence Belarus because at one time Lukashenko’s position was clear, he did not recognise the ‘independence’ of Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” says Gia Khutsishvilma. Paata Zakareishvili thinks that Belarus is speculating over this issue as it needs gas and economic relations with Russia and it is therefore possible that it will recognise Abkhazian and South Ossetian ‘independence’.

The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is refraining from comment on this issue at present. It hopes that Official Minsk will respect Georgia’s territorial integrity.

Kherkheulidze demands the exhumation of Gamsakhurdia

Akhali Taoba reports that Member of the Parliamentary Majority Eka Kherkheulidze has stated that the Parliamentary Committee investigating the death of former President Zviad Gamsakhurdia must consider exhuming him to establish the real causes of his death.

Kherkheulidze stated that it is impossible to establish the real reasons for the President’s death, whether he died, was killed or killed himself, without his exhumation. She said this was discussed when his body was moved from Chechnya to Georgia but the President’s widow Manana Archvadze-Gamsakhurdia and his son Tsotne Gamsakhurdia prevented this from happening. Kherkheulidze said that according to her information the first President’s third son Giorgi Gamsakhurdia thinks an exhumation is necessary.

Irakli Alasania may refuse to stand for Mayor under proposed electoral system

Rezonansi reports that the authorities plan to reform the electoral system by removing the percentage threshold a candidate must achieve to be the directly elected Mayor of Tbilisi. This principle is absolutely unacceptable for the opposition. Irakli Alasania, the only officially declared candidate so far, might refuse to participate in these elections if this new rule is introduced.

Elections without thresholds will mean that the candidate with a simple majority of votes will win, even if all the other candidates put together receive more votes. The opposition say that the Government is hoping that opposition candidates will take votes from each other, leaving the Government candidate as the winner despite him not having majority support.

The opposition believe that a certain percentage of votes should be required to be elected Tbilisi Mayor – they have suggested 40% of the valid ballots. If no candidate receives 40% of the vote, the two highest placed candidates will present themselves for a second round of voting. Under such a system, the chances of an opposition candidate being elected will be high, the newspaper says.

Representatives of the opposition state that thresholds are a principle for them. The commission working on electoral reform, which includes members of both the Parliamentary and non-Parliamentary opposition, has been working on changing electoral legislation for several months but has failed to reach any agreements. The issues they have discussed are unknown due to an agreement that the members of the commission will not disclose disputable issues and variants before final agreement is reached, the publication notes.

“As the authorities have little chance of winning the Mayoral elections under normal legislation they are trying to make abnormal legislation. We are naturally trying to improve the electoral legislation, but this is a long process,” one of the leaders of the Alliance for Georgia, David Berdzenishvili, has stated in a further interview. “We should ensure that domestic and foreign pressure is put on the authorities. We shall do our best to succeed in the current consultations, which are being held under the auspices of the National Democratic Institute. We have partners in the shape of the other opposition parties.

“We take part in these discussions to force the authorities to reach an agreement about normal electoral legislation. The Alliance has a great chance of winning the elections if we have this. We are well aware that the tandem of Irakli Alasania and Sozar Subari has no logical alternative on the opposition side,” David Berdzenishvili said.