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Compiled by Liana Bezhanishvili
Thursday, January 14
Myths about McCain’s visit

Versia writes that the U.S. Senators have already left Georgia. The goal of their visit was unknown for many, but some say that its main purpose was to reform the defence system of Georgia and replace Bacho Akhalaia.

"We should not seek for reasons under the table when they are on it. McCain was accompanied by two other Senators, members of the Republican Party and Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate, who have significant influence on the formation of US foreign policy. Thinking that McCain is not the US representative is an uninformed approach to the subject," leader of the Parliamentary minority Giorgi Targamadze told the publication.

"The major issue is national security. We are well aware that we do not have sufficient resources to ensure our security and need the support of partner states. America is our key partner, and McCain is a person who consistently lobbies for Georgia's interests in elite US political circles. Therefore, his visits are always important," Targamadze said.

"Was it an official visit or not? The U.S. Senators had just been in Israel as part of a tour and left for Afghanistan and Iraq after visiting Georgia. Do you believe their visit was just a friendly greeting? As for the replacement of the Defence Minister, I cannot definitely say there has been no discussion of this at all but the issue was not raised by either of them at the meeting, as far as we know," Targamadze said.:

"We discussed holding fair elections at our meeting with McCain, and also the media, the court system, the competitiveness of the political parties and the fact that further development requires the freeing of business from political influence. One of my colleagues stated at the meeting that McCain is a person who Saakashvili might listen to but McCain responded that he had not come to Georgia to preach to anyone. They came as friends and partners who can give advice to us," Targamadze concluded.

What will happen if the local elections are falsified?

Versia reports that the leader of the Georgian Academy Nukri Kantaria has said, "If the forthcoming local elections are falsified the opposition will become an unstoppable force and the Government will be forced out. But if there are many opposition candidates the Government candidates can win with 20-25 percent support and there will be no need to falsify the elections. Therefore everything depends on the opposition. The parties which will not take part in the elections must also be part of the general opposition force and publicly support opposition candidates.”

Asked what people should do if a national protest rally is held by some opposition parties in preference to taking part in the elections, Kantaria said: “It is possible that the elections will act as a catalyst and something concrete will emerge from them. We support the elections and will try to achieve an opposition consensus concerning them. But we will also support the wing which supports holding a protest rally. If the elections are falsified these two groups will combine in a common cause.

"The rally should not be held just to cause a disturbance or because someone wants to become leader. It is possible for the opposition to win the elections, but if the results are falsified both parts of the opposition will seek to have justice done. What will bring the people out into the streets? What did they achieve in all that time they were standing in front of Parliament? All this is not necessary. Everything depends on the opposition alone,” Kantaria said.