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Compiled by Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, January 15
Irakli Alasania will represent Georgia at the inauguration of Barack Obama

On Monday some Georgian media outlets reported that Georgia’s former Ambassador to the UN will represent the country at the inauguration of Barack Obama, Sakartvelos Respublika reports.

Alasania’s circle has confirmed the information. “After a brief visit to Tbilisi Alasania left for the US. He will attend Obama’s inauguration. He will return to Georgia after the ceremony,” said one of Alasania’s close allies.

Some opposition supporters see this event as a signal to renew demonstrations, and some maintain that the event proves that Washington has already decided who Georgia’s future leader will be.

Public Defender demands the release of Shalva Ramishvili

The Public Defender has demanded that Minister of Justice Zurab Adeishvili releases journalist Shalva Ramishvili from prison, Sakartvelos Respublica writes.

In his appeal to Adeishvili Sozar Subari pointed out the contribution Shalva Ramishvili has made to Georgian journalism and the development of Georgia’s broadcasting culture. He said that the programmes made by Ramishvili promoted the breaking down of old stereotypes and encouraged free thinking.

After the Rose Revolution, during a period when debates were strictly controlled and the Government imposed censorship on TV stations, Ramishvili’s programmes were almost the only source of alternative views and information the public had.

The Government denies it has decided to call snap elections

It is not clear whether snap elections will be called or not, Reszonanzi reports. Officials say that this issue is not being discussed at all. The Parliamentary opposition believe certain processes should precede snap elections. Meanwhile the non-Parliamentary opposition says that early elections in spring are inevitable and, moreover, the Government has already made this decision.

The issue of early elections had been a matter of discussion since the last election, intensified from time to time by various political leaders. Most opposition representatives think that snap elections must be conducted, but only after changing the election code in order to hold democratic elections.

A month and a half ago Georgian Parliament Speaker David Bakradze, who was visiting the US, said that the Government would start working on changing the election code. As the statement was made in the US, it was assumed that partner states were asking the Georgian authorities to hold elections. There have however been no talks about amending the election code.

“If the Government has made this decision, it is obvious to assume that the Government knows the ratings of the parties. If the Conservative Party’s rating was good, for example, I do not think the authorities would think about holding elections. We are not afraid of elections, we are just afraid of getting the same result,” said Levan Vephkhvadze of the Christian Democrats.