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Compiled by Liana Bezhanishvili
Thursday, December 31
Levan Gachechiladze demands the unification of the opposition

In an interview with Akhali Taoba the Leader of Defend Georgia Levan Gachechiladze has stated: "There will be a very acute struggle in Georgia, which will be provoked by the forthcoming elections. If there is another attempt at violent repression it will happen without us, but we will make an adequate response to it.

"It is necessary to create a common, united font. There is no alternative to unity. The short term will be devoted to negotiations for achieving this unity.

"I am not intending to take part in the primary as yet. My main aim is to form the united front against Saakashvili. The united front will nominate common candidates not only in Tbilisi but in the regions. I will support this common candidate.

"There will be one central headquarters which will work to remove the Government. I look at this election as a very serious political process and I believe that Saakashvili will again falsify the elections,” stated Levan Gachechiladze.

Asked how he would achieve the unity he mentioned, Gachechiladze said: "We have achieved it before and will do so again the same way. I am very confident of this. I will be part of this united front certainly. This election must end this Government.”

Lado Papava: Noghaideli is the National Movement’s project

In an interview with Akhali Taoba economic analyst Lado Papava has stated: "No one can convince me that Noghaideli is not the National Movement’s project. This project helps both Saakashvili and Putin. Noghaideli was Finance Minister and Prime Minister. Did he not make mistakes? Therefore, if they wanted to keep him silent, could they not do so?

"I do not know exactly what Noghaideli is or is not guilty of but if they wanted to silence him they would charge him with something and that would be the end of his career. Furthermore, Noghaideli is so unpopular that if the Government charges him, even falsely, no one will be too bothered about this.

"This unpopular person contacts Putin and meets him. Then Saakashvili softly criticises Noghaideli. It suits Saakashvili to make contact with Russia not through someone normal who is supported by the public but someone who is regarded as a rogue," Papava said.

“The Government could find no better person than Noghaideli to establish surreptitious contact with Russia. Noghaideli is unpopular, so the Government gains from criticising him. Noghaideli will neither be prosecuted or anything else, he will be used to maintain ties with Russia. Saakashvili will say, "you do not like this Noghaideli and what he is doing, so support me instead," and he will prolong his grip on power. Putin, who shakes a fist at the whole world, is meeting the former Georgian Prime Minister. Why? Because he knows very well that through Noghaideli he is doing business with Saakashvili,” said Lado Papava.

”I was shocked by the relations between Zviad Dzidziguri and Noghaideli. I share the sentiments expressed by NGOs and journalists about Noghaideli. I am well aware of Dzidziguri and respect him, and was offended to see him standing beside Noghaideli. He is helping Saakashvili in effect. Some of the opposition are ready to accept the leadership of Noghaideli – who has met with Putin! This scenario is ideal for the present Government.”

"As for holding primary elections, I believe this would be a big mistake. The results could easily be falsified. MIA staff will be told to vote for the weakest opposition candidate to neutralise the stronger ones. Primaries can easily be falsified, and I do not believe that the opposition cannot figure this out,” said Lado Papava.

"Primaries are not a mere mistake in the present conditions. They are a game of the Government, and the candidate they select will not be a real opposition figure but a bluff. One thing should be noted here: if Noghaideli breaches the rules of the game stipulated by the Nationals and starts to be a real opposition leader the Government will confront him with evidence of his misdeeds. But I am confident that Noghaideli will never be a popular figure in Georgian society. What was Noghaideli during the November 7, 2007 events? He was Prime Minister. Noghaideli being a real opposition figure is out of the question," Papava concluded.