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More parties might take part in primary

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, January 5
The primary election to identify a common opposition candidate for Tbilisi Mayor will definitely be held, said a statement released after the interparty group meeting at the Conservative Party office on January 4. Some parties have refused to participate in this primary but others have not made a final decision and therefore consultations should continue, the meeting concluded.

Kakha Kukava, from the Conservative Party, said that negotiations will be held for the rest of this month. "The primary will be held, but our aim is for it to involve as many opposition parties as possible. Some important opposition figures have not made official and final decisions on participation and the interparty group will attempt to persuade them to do so,” Kukava said, adding that the group has already taken into account Industry Will Save Georgia’s comments. "Each comment and suggestion by opposition parties has importance for us. Zurab Tkemaladze, from Industry Will Save Georgia, has suggested that the primary be held only to choose a candidate for the Mayoral elections and not those for the Tbilisi City Council elections and we have accepted this,” Kukava stated.

The interparty group meeting discussed the primary elections' date and budget, but final decisions have not yet been made on these issues. The interparty group’s leaders have stated that the primary elections’ budget should be transparent, and further consultations on it will begin after the Christmas Holiday, from January 8.

After the meeting Lado Bozhadze, from the Movement for United Georgia, said that his party's participation in the primary was not excluded. "If the interparty group’s decisions are acceptable for us and for other oppositional parties, naturally we will agree to participate in the primary," Bozhadze said. Besides the three parties in the interparty group, the Conservatives, People’s Party and Movement for Fair Georgia, the only opposition group to state positively that it will take part in the primary is the Veteran’s Coalition. "Fighting independently of each other will not bring any acceptable result for the opposition,” Giorgi Berdzenadze, the Coalition's leader, stated after the meeting.

The Alliance for Georgia, Democratic Movement-United Georgia and Labour Party have officially refused to participate in any primary, as has the Parliamentary opposition Christian Democrats. The interparty group has stated that consultations are currently being held with former opposition Presidential candidate Levan Gachechiladze, who has not made a final decision, and others will also be approached.

The Government is already active preparing for the local elections. The President’s administration began accepting applications for the three vacancies at the Central Election Commission on January 4. Three members of the thirteen-strong CEC, Gizo Mchedlidze, Lukhum Borjaliani and Emzar Pazhava, have completed their terms and that of CEC Chairperson Levan Tarkhnishvili has also expired.

"The President is responsible for nominating three candidates for Chair, one of whom will be elected by the opposition members of the CEC. If the members of the ruling party and the opposition fail to agree on the candidates, Parliament is authorised to make final decision,” Archil Anasashvili, CEC Juridical Department Chairman has stated. However former CEC head Tarknishvili surprisingly announced yesterday that he might be one of the applicants. "If the President nominates me again perhaps I will not object, nothing is excluded,” Tarkhnishvili said.

Tarkhnishvili's candidacy is not excluded by CEC opposition member Giorgi Javakhishvili either. "If Tarkhnishvili agrees to participate in the CEC elections this is his right, he will have a juridical right to do so,” Javakhishvili has stated. The deadline for submitting applications is January 8.