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Compiled By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, February 24
Why will Saakashvili not attend Yanukovich’s inauguration?

Only Georgian Parliament Chair David Bakradze and Parliament Vice-Speaker Mikheil Machavariani will attend the inauguration of Viktor Yanukovich on February 28, David Bakradze said at the recent Bureau sitting, writes Rezonansi.

Mikheil Machavariani has said that a state and not a concrete person is invited to an inauguration. Therefore the President has simply decided that the Parliament Chair will represent him. But the question is why Saakashvili will not attend in person when he has visited Ukraine frequently. No official reason has been given yet. According to the President's Press Speaker Manana Manjgaladze a statement will be made on the matter soon.

Political analysts say that Saakashvili was not invited because Georgia was trying to raise hysteria about Yanukovich’s pro-Russian orientation during the elections. "People are invited to an inauguration in accordance with the relations between the two states and their leaders. When a President does not attend an inauguration this means bilateral relations are in doubt. Can you imagine Yushchenko being inaugurated again without Saakashvili? There should not have been such open support for Tymoshenko. Ukraine sent its invitation not to the President but a general delegation. But the invitation was sent, as had it not been this would have been an insult to Georgia and Ukraine’s leadership would not have done this," Giorgi Khutsishvili told the publication.

Memorandum on new political channel signed

24 Saati writes that an agreement on the new format of the Second Channel has been signed by 11 political parties, the Director of the Georgian Public Broadcaster and the Director of the Second Channel at the office of the National Democratic Institute. This agreement followed an initiative by Parliament Chairman David Bakradze.

The channel, which is expected to broadcast via satellite to the entire country, will provide live coverage of committee sessions and Parliament sittings and daily, unedited and live coverage of the activities of opposition parties. The parties will be provided with one hour of dedicated airtime which they will rotate among themselves in sequence. The channel will also organise debates at least once a week on draft laws being discussed in Parliament and while Parliament is not sitting will air debates on various political issues.

The memorandum signed will remain in force until the next Parliamentary elections in 2012. Its terms will only apply however to the political parties which have signed it: the Christian Democratic Movement, National Democratic Party, We Ourselves, Democratic Party, Georgian Troupe, Freedom Party, Conservative Party, People's Party, Movement for Fair Georgia, Traditionalists, Our Georgia-Free Democrats, Defend Georgia and the ruling National Movement. It does however envisage that the Second Channel will air “unedited, full versions of press conferences and briefings” by those parties which have refused to sign the memorandum but fall under the criteria defined by it. These are the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, the National Forum, the Labour Party, The Way of Georgia, the New Rights and the Republican Party.

If the signatories to the memorandum change the National Democratic Institute will create a new list of parties entitled to this live coverage, the publication says.