The messenger logo

Press Scanner

Compiled by Liana Bezhanishvili
Wednesday, March 3
Analyst: Levan Gachechiladze will be the opposition candidate

In an interview with Akhali Taoba political scientist Ramaz Sakvarelidze has stated: "It seems that Levan Gachechiladze could become the united candidate of the opposition either through conducting an opinion poll or holding a primary. Alasania did not expect him to be a candidate and maybe he disagrees with him standing, but Levan Gachechiladze’s candidature will finish Alasania as I do not think he can beat such a competitor.

“I would be very surprised if Levan Gachechiladze were not one of the public's most favoured candidates. He is rejected by some for certain unsuccessful initiatives but despite this he can mobilise people and they are still with him. I believe he will continue to attract significant support, and not only in Tbilisi. Saakashvili found him difficult to beat in Tbilisi [according to the official results Gachechiladze beat Saakashvili in Tbilisi at the last Presidential elections – The Messenger]. This was not only because Levan Gachechiladze is opposition and Saakashvili the Government but because he has many attractive traits for Tbilisi citizens and his behaviour, style and independence are more acceptable in Tbilisi. He has a lot of friends, and Alasania has neither the friends nor the style, and consequently not so many supporters,” stated Ramaz Sakvarelidze.

“It may be that Irakli Alasania will not have so many people around him after Levan Gachechiladze starts his campaign. Maybe Gachechiladze has a low rating at present because he has not been seen as a possible Mayor candidate. We will only see his real rating when he starts to campaign. Meanwhile it is difficult to predict who will win the election or say anything about the candidates’ strategy, but we can say in general that because the Government started campaigning a long time ago it is now very late for the rest of the candidates to do so. With this factor and the 30 percent threshold the Government has a chance to win without breaking any laws,” said Ramaz Sakvarelidze.

Nukri Kantaria: if Alasania is not the common candidate the elections have no point

Rezonansi reports that on March 4 at 3 o’clock the Georgian Academy plans to hold a meeting with Irakli Alasania in the Vera basketball hall because “We should find out what is happening in the opposition as the public want answers to their questions”, as Chair of the Georgian Academy Nukri Kantaria has stated. Kantaria said he and other Georgian Academy representatives will ask Alasania very acute questions and afterwards decide whether to support him at the Tbilisi Mayoral elections or not.

Nukri Kantaria:” In our opinion no alternative candidate to Irakli Alasania has been found in the opposition. If he is not the united opposition candidate there is no point fight the authorities by contesting elections as the process would be a farce.”

50 political prisoners should be released

Akhali Taoba writes that the Public Movement Solidarity with Illegal Prisoners regards people whose private property has been confiscated as political prisoners. Its leader Eka Beselia says that these people were sentenced illegally and consider that their private property was confiscated illegally.

“Today we will present the first 50 such cases to the law court. These cases have already been discussed by the special commission created by NGOs, which agreed that these persons were arrested and condemned for political reasons. This is the first test" is the law court independent? There are 50 cases here, and we will give them the opportunity to make a just and right decision,” stated Beselia at a press conference. She added that they will present batches of 50 cases to the courts periodically.

According to head of the Human Rights Centre Ucha Nanuashvili this fifty person list is a test for the Georgian Government because these people are the victims of the court reforms being conducted in Georgia.

An Easter pardon

24 Saati writes that the Pardon Commission is planning to release a number of prisoners for Easter. The condemned and their relatives are expecting the President to release not only prisoners with light penalties but also those serving long sentences, as the local elections are due to coincide with the pardons. However the Commission does not foresee recommending that serious offenders be released.

Elene Tevdoradze, Commission Chair, said: "It has been decided that at Easter the President will receive our recommendations of the last three months, although it sometimes happens that some recommendations are not sent. Our office cannot send its recommendations every day.”