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Complied by Liana Bezhanishvili
Tuesday, November 24
Ramaz Sakvarelidze: You do not need to hold primaries to select a common candidate

In an interview with Akhali Taoba political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze has said: “I am not sure if a primary election [to identify a common opposition candidate for Tbilisi Mayor] will be conducted. If they want a common candidate I do not see the necessity of holding a primary to identify one. Levan Gachechiladze was made common opposition leader [last year, prior to the Presidential elections] by internal voting and he had quite a serious contest with Saakashvili.

“The mechanism of identifying the candidate will not be the determinant of their chances. All the protest votes will go to the common candidate, it does not matter who that is. I think holding a primary is too labour-consuming,” stated Ramaz Sakvarelidze.

Asked whather the results of a primary would be easy to falsify, he answered, “What is not falsified? They have falsified their finances and can do so with the primary. The practice of holding primaries has weak points too, as Western experience shows. It is possible that if the Government wants a weak opponent its supporters will take part in the primary and vote for the weakest candidate to make sure that is who they are running against. Primaries encourage this kind of manoeuvring.

“If the opposition cannot agree on one candidate there is a serious chance they can take each other’s votes. Then the high threshold the opposition wants might work against them. The monolithic control party might take more votes than a dismembered opposition,” Sakvarelidze said.

The Journalists Ethics Charter is ready for signature

Rezonansi writes that Georgian journalists have finished working on the Journalists Ethics Charter with the help of European media experts and EC representatives. It will be signed in a special ceremony on either 4 or 9 December, the EC has not yet decided which.

The Charter contains 11 clauses. It will be signed by individuals, and any journalist can sign it without the permission of their superiors.

The published articles of the journalists who have signed the Charter will be monitored by a special Monitoring Council of nine members elected by journalists. 3 members of this council will be from Tbilisi and 6 from the regions. According to journalist Ia Antadze, 2/3 of the population of Georgia lives in the regions, hence the quotas of seats of the council. It will issue monthly reports. The journalists signing the Charter will also set up their own Association.

The Monitoring Council’s membership will be periodically changed via rotation. It will monitor whether the signatories of the Charter uphold the principles enshrined in it and will make complaints if violations of these are detected.

Alliance says it is fighting for just principles

”I am confident that this is the only way. I do not know how the authorities can be changed without elections, or protest rallies on the grounds of election falsification. The days of tanks and bombs should not be repeated. Today Georgia has figured out that this was a great mistake. We have no alternative to elections,” leader of New Rights Davit Gamkrelidze has stated in an interview with Akhali Taoba.

“I suppose it is a bit unserious to wait for Saakashvili to decide to resign and at the same time saying there is no sense in participating in elections held in the current conditions. Even the local elections might be used to dismantle this regime. The authorities endeavour to show that the election threshold issue is showing the obstinacy of the Alliance. In fact, they aim to simply add their 30% to the present law. We fight for establishing just principles in which the winner is elected by a majority. I am surprised that other parties are not trying to achieve the same,” Gamkrelidze said.

‘The other opposition parties have not expressed a serious interest in the Mayoral elections. They may not have candidates for this post, at least I am not aware of them having one. But both the Alliance and the authorities intend to gain victory in these elections. We will fight for victory. We do not have the illusion that we will fight under an ideal electoral code but we will succeed anyway,” Gamkrelidze stated.