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Compiled by Liana Bezhanishvili
Tuesday, February 16
New Rights demands explanations from Dmitry Shashkin

Kviris Palitra writes that Dmitry Shashkin may reform the system of accrediting universities and the New Rights party is demanding an explanation of this from him.

Manana Nachkebia says that Shashkin's 9 February statement that universities would no longer be accredited raises a lot of questions, as there is no indication of whether diplomas gained at unaccredited universities will be recognised. It is also unclear how the national examinations will be affected by the removal of accreditation.

Nachkebia said that competition between universities should increase but not at the expense of education quality.

Eduard Shevardnadze names three candidates for Georgian President: Fridon Todua, Irakli Menagharishvili, Vazha Lortkipanidze

In an interview with Asaval Dasavali Eduard Shevardnadze has stated that: "I have been silent, but now I want to name the three persons I think can create dialogue with Russia.

“The first is Fridon Todua, who has a very close relationship with the Russian elite. He is very respectable and has much influence in Moscow. That is why I advise him to take part in improving relationships between Georgia and Russia. The second person is Irakli Menagharishvili. He is irreplaceable in any post. You remember 9 April: if it were not for Irakli a lot of people would have been killed. Vazha Lortkipanidze ids the third: he was the Ambassador in Moscow for 3 years and was a very good Ambassador,” stated Eduard Shevardnadze.

Asked whether these were the three people he was referring to in a previous interview, in which he had said that there were three deserving candidates for President but refused to name them, Shevardnadze replied, "Yes I meant them. But I think Fridon would be the best because he lived in Russia and knows more than the others."

Irakli Melashvili – "If the people want the present Government I shall be in the opposition"

"Noghaideli still has a Government guard and car. Under the law, only Parliament Chairs enjoy these rights, not ex-Premiers. In my opinion, Saakashvili is using Noghaideli to talk to Russia through," the National Forum’s Irakli Melashvili states in an interview with Kronika.

"The Government is trying to establish a satellite organization in the radical wing of the opposition. Noghaideli is a project of the Government, and is employed to do what he does: create complete disorganisation within the opposition by attaching himself to Russia. Everyone knows Noghaideli will not achieve any vote threshold in any fair election, and therefore he will not conduct any kind of revolution," Melashvili says.

"Not only local elections but early Presidential and Parliamentary ones could end with the same outcome in the present electoral environment. No matter what kind of amendments are made in the Election Code, the National Forum will not participate in the local elections because they serve no purpose. We need to unify all the political parties, analysts and international organisations to force the Government to share our views. I have asked the opposition to start a common fight for a better electoral environment," Irakli Melashvili states.

Asked what he would do if the Government won without rigging the elections, Melashvili says: "If the people want the present Government I shall be in the opposition. I am confident that the present Government will not win fair elections. However the opposition is absolutely disorganised. The Government is spending millions on its election campaign while the opposition does nothing. Everyone speaks about a single opposition candidate but that is foolishness. They are effectively promoting the Government candidate and we see no way out of this situation at the present moment.

"We have been conducting negotiations within the opposition for 4 months and should unite around common interests. This will be a great attack on the Government. Let’s attack the Government unexpectedly…one well planned combination will defeat Saakashvili," Melashvili concluded.