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Compiled by Etuna Tsotniashvili
Thursday, December 24
Students cannot make payments

Students from Saingilo are demanding that the Government decrease their university fees by 30%, Sakartvelos Respublika writes. 79 Saingilo students passed this year's United National Exams and are studying at universities, but according to the Kakheti Information Centre due to poor living conditions those students cannot cover their university payments.

“We are going to send a letter to the Ministry of Education and ask for some privileges. If the fees are not decreased we will not be able to attend lectures,” one of the affected students said.

Whoever becomes Tbilisi Mayor will be a real candidate for the Presidency - analyst

In an interview with Sakartvelos Respublika, political analyst Giorgi Khutsishvili talks about the local elections and the opposition.

Khutsishvili says that after the three month rally in spring the opposition have changed tactics, and this change has been caused by two factors. First, the authorities have also changed tactics and second, the opposition have not found a way to unite and thus present a joint candidate for the elections.

Asked what chance the opposition have at the local elections, Khutsishvili says that this will depend on whether they unite, although he thinks it is mostly unlikely that they will.

“Whoever wins the Tbilisi Mayor’s elections will become a real candidate for President. This election is a kind of springboard for potential candidates before the Presidential elections. That’s why they are very important for all parties,” the analyst concluded.

Defence Ministry dismisses 150 officers

Rezonansi reports that 150 colonels and vice-colonels have been dismissed from the Ministry of Defence. Some are from the Vaziani base and some from subunits. This information has been neither confirmed nor denied by the Ministry, which states that a process of "staff optimisation is being undertaken.

The dismissed officers have appealed to the Association of Law and Freedom. They say that the results of assessments were given as the reason for their dismissal, but they had not been told that any assessments were taking place. They also say that they disagree with the current policy of the Ministry and have been targeted for this reason. "The Ministry is full of former Ministry of Internal Affairs and prison staff. I understand that every Minister brings in their own staff but MIA staff cannot understand how to run military units," a dismissed vice-colonel has told the publication.

"Soldiers have been slowly removed from the Defence Ministry since Okruashvili's period as Minister, replaced by policemen… I know they look into the views of soldiers, but let them consider their cases properly. The Department of Staff should hear the personal cases of the soldiers. The reason given for these dismissals is ridiculous,” military expert Akia Barbaqadze has told the publication.

"Senior officers have been dismissed along with junior ones. The Ministry of Defence should explain itself. This reminds me of Okruashvili's sackings. There is now a deficit of defence staff in this country,” analyst and head of the Association of Law and Freedom Irakli Sesiashvili says.