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Compiled by Londa Mindiashvili
Monday, June 29
Ugulava wants more freedom and independence for Tbilisi

Sakartvelos Respublika writes that the Mayor of Tbilisi has asked Parliament to change the local government status of the city, as he announced at the international conference on The Role of Cities in the European Neighbourhood Policy held in the Courtyard Marriott.

Gigi Ugulava said that Tbilisi needs more freedom and independence and therefore the laws concerning it should be changed. He said it would be better if the Tbilisi Mayor was chosen by direct election, rather than by the City Council members as he himself was. Parliament is discussing this initiative.

Shalva Pichkhadze: the Government will not feel in danger if there is no opposition leader

Political analyst Shalva Pichkhadze has told Rezonansi: “I think the Government will not feel itself in any danger of being removed if the opposition does not have a common leader. Furthermore the opposition struggle against the present Government is being hampered by the unequal financial arrangements. The opposition should not have any hope of gaining support from the West either, because the West is not interested in removing Saakashvili before the due date.

“Snap Presidential elections would have been a way out but these will not happen now. I think the opposition and their numerous supporters should prepare for the elections in 2013. The authorities have been told or worked out for themselves that they must be patient. The most important problem the opposition have is that they have fewer resources than the Government. First of all there is no one among them like Badri Patarkatsishvili, who had the same amount of money the Government can call on. Second, there is no national television station that will present the opposition’s case to the whole country. Third, the opposition does not have an obvious leader.

“The members of the opposition say that not having an obvious leader is an advantage but I cannot agree with them. Having an obvious leader is necessary for not only the Georgian people but also our foreign partners. Both of them should know who they will be doing business with if the opposition achieves its goal,” says Pichkhadze.

Alasania’s high rating irritates both Government and opposition

Akhali Taoba reports that the Government, the opposition and whole of Georgia are interested in understanding what Irakli Alasania wants to achieve in politics. He is the highest rated of all political figures at present, something very irritating for both the authorities and the members of the opposition.

“I think the opposition must be the more irritated because some decisions Alasania has made have forced the opposition to change their plans. Alasania has always appealed the opposition to begin negotiations with the Government, which raised opposition objections and won him Government approval. But the Government has made serious allegations against Alasania. Vakhtang Balavadze has expressed his indignation over the fact that Alasania is not in Georgia. Balavadze has demanded that Alasania presents himself and states his position on the Kakha Targamadze incident. However the Government’s claims are really surprising and questionable.

“Victor Dolidze, a member of Alasania’s team, says that Alasania is not hiding anywhere, never avoids stating his position and will not do so on this occasion. The opposition leaders have protected Alasania, but the Government knows very well where Alasania is, which is why they are irritated. Irakli Alasania is in the United States of America, having important meetings there, and as it is said that he has given quite unpleasant information about the authorities of Georgia to the Americans,” says the author of the article.