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Compiled by Liana Bezhanishvili
Monday, January 11
Will Gachechiladze join Alasania?

Akhali Taoba reports that The Alliance for Georgia’s ranks might be increasing. According to lobby information Levan Gachechiladze's party Defend Georgia and the Georgian Academy might be joining the Alliance.

None of the opposition parties support the idea of primaries except the members of the group organising them, the parties of Nogaideli, Dzidziguri and Davitashvili, says the paper. Giorgi Targamadze has not given a flat refusal but his Christian Democrats will not take part.

While the opposition parties debate whether they will participate in the local elections, the Government's candidate is conducting an election campaign. Gigi Ugulava has not yet been officially nominated by the National Movement but it is clear that he will be its candidate.

Before the local elections are called who will be the next Central Election Commission Chair must be decided. The President will hold consultations on this issue with the NGO sector. The Parliament must select the members of the CEC by 15 January. Chairman of Parliament Davit Bakradze states that this year the CEC Chair will be nominated under new regulations.

Is Bacho Akhalaia resigning to go to Germany?

Rezonansi writes that Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaia might resign from his post as a result of Western pressure on President Saakashvili. However Saakashvili is not ready to announce this. According to sources the President will not say that Akhalaia is being sent away to an educational institute in Germany but instead maintain that he wanted to go himself, as was said in the cases of Irakli Okruashvili and Nika Gvaramia.

Military experts confirm that Bacho Akhalaia might be sent to Germany and that the USA and NATO have continually demanded that he be removed as Defence Minister. 200 colonels recently resigned, the Defence Ministry saying that they had failed various tests they had been given. However these colonels have stated privately that no one told them there was going to be any test. They say that the Defence Ministry is going through the personal files of soldiers and dismissing those who are unhappy with the way the Ministry and General Staff are being run.

"Some former Army staff have told us that Bacho Akhalaia has interfered in the working of the Army. He apparently demanded without explanation that the military sack about 25 officers. These persons have had successful careers and won commendations and demand reinstatement. Their removal was absolutely illegal. The Defence Ministry must explain why it did this. This process reminds me of what happened during the time of Okruashvili, today there is a deficit of qualified staff,” stated military expert Irakli Sesiashvili.

Tamar Rukhadze appointed Maestro’s information service head

Rezonansi reports that TV company Maestro has appointed Tamar Rukhadze, the former head of Rustavi 2's information service, as the head of its own information service. The channel is being reorganised and in the near future Maestro will present news which will satisfied the requirements of the viewers, Rukhadze said on being appointed.

Tamar Rukhadze and Nana Lezhava, another former Rustavi 2 journalist, formed the independent station GNS after they left Irakli Okruashvili's Movement for United Georgia. Lezhava’s GNS current affairs programme is broadcast one day a week on Kavkasia. Rukhadze said that her moving to Maestro would not affect this programme.