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Compiled by Sopo Datishvili
Friday, January 23
New flats to be built for the families of Russian occupiers

Rezonansi reports, quoting the media centre of the Tbilisi-loyal Abkhazian Autonomous Republic, that Russian aggressors intend to build two housing blocks in the village of Nabakevi.

According to local inhabitants the blocks, to be built in the centre of the village, will house the families of 600 Russian soldiers. The de facto administration of Gali has already set aside 2 hectares of land for this housing project.

Opposition seeking a leader

Sakartvelos Respublica reports that unlike the President, whose current emphasis has to be on introducing a new wave of democracy, the priority for the opposition is to find a leader.

The United Opposition now consists of only three parties and one individual: the Conservatives, the Peopleís Party, the Movement for United Georgia and Levan Gachechiladze. The rest of the opposition has formed itself into groups but these havenít formulated their demands yet.

The only thing all the opposition parties agree on is that pre-term Parliamentary elections must be held. Nino Burjanadze has said that Presidential elections are the most necessary at present, but other parties disagree. Some opposition parties are financed, some not, and this has also caused disagreement among the opposition groups.

The opposition is regrouping right now and formulating new ideas. Some parties are even looking for a leader. Irakli Alasania has already managed to present himself to society as a constructive opposition figure, and some see him as such a leader.

As for the Parliamentary opposition, it looks skeptically at the recent alliance of the Republicans and New Rights. The Christian Democrats cannot understand what these two parties have in common, but the New Rights and Republicans say that their views coincide on major topics.

From February Parliament may start working on amendments to the election code. The opposition doubts that the majority will deliberately prolong this process because according to the Venice Commission elections mustnít be held for a year after changes are made to an election code. The initiative of working on possible changes was suggested by the Speaker of Parliament. Experts donít exclude that the result might be a completely new election code.

The non-Parliamentary and Parliamentary opposition have objections to the composition of the Central Election Commission. The Parliamentary opposition has demanded a special working group to discuss election code changes.

Street tradersí problems should be solved

The United Democratic Party has suggested to the Tbilisi Mayor that he create a municipal system for resolving street tradersí problems, Sakartvelos Respublika reports. At a press conference UDP member and MP Guram Chakhvadze said that such a system could be financed from the city budget, from the State Fund for Development or through different donor organizations.

Chakhvadze said that a merchant from Digomi, who was forbidden to trade in his previous place and was told to move to a new, inconvenient one, had appealed him about his problem. He thought that a place could be found in Tbilisi which would be suitable for street traders.

As in many western countries, outdoor markets could be organised in Tbilisi for people who trade in the streets. This would not involve great expense as they can be built simply, said Chakvadze. He added that such market must be a tax-free zone.