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Prepared by Diana Dundua
Tuesday, March 4
“Shalva Natelashvili: Mikheil Saakashvili carried out a failed terrorist attack against me and I survived!”

Akhali Taoba reports that Labor leader Shalva Natelashvili returned from Vienna, where he underwent heart surgery in January after suffering health problems.

Arriving in Tbilisi International Airport, he told journalists he would renew his political fight against the government with “tripled energy,” and accused authorities of plotting his death.

“Mikheil Saakashvili and his special services carried out a terrorist act against another outstanding political figure, Badri Patarkatsishvili. Unfortunately, he died,” Natelashvili said. “As for me, the criminal president carried out a failed terrorist act against me, and I survived. I want to assure the people that we will fulfill our aims, because there is no place for Saakashvili and his cronies in Georgia.”

Natelashvili also commented on the moderate Republican Party’s decision to leave the opposition coalition, which Labor split off from in November to nominate Natelashvili for the presidency.

“I knew there were various opinions in the [opposition coalition] and they could not agree on things. That was why the Republican Party separated. The Labor Party never makes a hasty decision, and it never joins anyone,” he concluded.

“State employment program cannot solve unemployment”

The government’s internship program alone will not solve the country’s employment problem, economist Demur Giorkhelidze said in an interview with Mteli Kvira. He said the business sector needs to be developed for unemployment in Georgia to be properly tackled.

“This program will not solve Georgia’s unemployment problem and the authorities never claimed it would either. It has a totally different purpose: the three-month program will be a certain advantage for those people who are socially vulnerable,” Giorkhelidze said.

“If the government wants to improve the current situation it should pay attention to the economic and business sector as well, which will help create more jobs,” he added.

Giorkhelidze said international experience shows that developing local businesses is a key to decreasing unemployment.

“The idea that the foreign investment will solve the problem is incorrect. Foreign investment is undoubtedly important…but it will not directly tackle unemployment,” he remarked, adding, “As for the government internship program I would say that this is simply temporary social assistance.”

The internship scheme is a three-month program in which unemployed people are taken on by businesses and taught a skill set while receiving a government stipend.

“Diana Gurtskaya to represent Georgia at Eurovision in Serbia”

Diana Gurtskaya, 29, won the national selection contest for this year’s Georgian Eurovision entrant on March 1, Akhali Taoba reports.

Gurtskaya fought off competition from 11 other hopefuls with her song “Peace Will Come,” and will now perform at the Eurovision finals in Serbia on May 20–24. She was born in the breakaway region of Abkhazia and currently lives in Moscow.

“Staff changes in Kakheti”

Sakartvelos Respublika reports that the chair and deputy chair of the city council in Kakheti’s Lagodekhi district have left their posts.

Kakheti governor Levan Bezhashvili confirmed that outgoing chairman Kakha Labuchadze will become the municipal governor of Gurjaani, replacing Ramaz Kerechashvili. Former head of the provincial healthcare department, Gia Gozalishvili, will take over from Labuchadze in Lagodekhi.