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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Friday, January 11

“Davit Bakradze: there are many decent people in the opposition”

Akhali Taoba reports that State Minister for Conflict Resolution Davit Bakradze, the spokesman for incumbent presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili’s campaign, welcomes the inclusion of the opposition’s “decent people” in the new government, as proposed by Saakashvili earlier this week.

In a January 9 talk with journalists, Bakradze said government staff changes would be agreed upon by the president and the prime minister.

“It’s too early to make any prognosis [on the composition of the next government]. But I completely agree that there are many decent people in the opposition, and if they’re included in the process of building a new democratic state, this will be profitable for Georgia. As a minister and as a member of the government team, I fully support this proposal [to include the opposition in government],” Bakradze said.

He added that politicians should be putting their political position second to the greater interests of the country.

“This is a governmental approach that is far above simple party interests. I call on everyone to fight together for a better future,” the state minister declared.

“Shalva Natelashvili met with Dieter Boden”

Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili, who won about six percent of the vote in the January 5 presidential election, met with OSCE election observation mission head Dieter Boden on January 9, according to Rezonansi.

Natelashvili shared his party’s allegations of election violations.

After the meeting, Boden said the Central Election Commission (CEC) should examine formal election complaints in detail.

“The CEC must study the details of the appeals received after the January 5 presidential elections,” the newspaper quotes the OSCE representative as saying. “Then they must make a final conclusion, after which we will be able to give our conclusion.”

“Ramaz Sakvarelidze: If a runoff in the presidential election is held, Gachechiladze and Saakashvili will split the vote!”

Akhali Taoba interviews political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze, who claims that main opposition candidate Levan Gachechiladze and incumbent Mikheil Saakashvili would split the vote down the middle if a runoff is held.

Sakvarelidze predicted that if the rest of the opposition candidates unite behind Gachechiladze, the result could be the two runoff candidates winning about 50 percent of the vote each, throwing the electorate into severe confusion.

“Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Affairs to dissolve the drug agency”

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that Ministry of Health, Labor and Social Affairs dissolved the ministry’s drug agency.

Drug agency official Nana Gorgaslidze says they received the official order on January 8.

“No one told us about this in advance. The order says the agency was dissolved by order of the Ministry of Health, and this happened as part of the ministry’s restructuring,” Gorgaslidze said.

She added that around 70 employees worked in the agency.

“Nobody knows what will happen with them… Everything will be clear after the abolishing commission gives a final conclusion,” Gorgaslidze said.

Ministry representatives say the reform is meant to introduce tighter control on pharmaceuticals in Georgia, though Gorgaslidze takes issue with that justification.

“It is really confusing if the drug agency, the only body controlling pharmaceuticals in the country, is abolished. How will the pharmaceutical market be controlled now?” Gorgaslidze asked.