07TBILISI2999, TBILISI UPDATE: 11/30/07

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2999 2007-11-30 12:53 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO4937
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2999/01 3341253
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301253Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8340
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002999 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/01/2017 
TAGS: PREL PGOV GG
SUBJECT: TBILISI UPDATE: 11/30/07 
 
REF: TBILISI 2976 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---------- 
Saakashvili Accused of Misusing Administrative Resources 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
 
1. (U) Opposition parties accused Mikheil Saakashvili of 
misusing administrative resources for political campaign 
purposes after he met with Abkhaz Internally Displaced 
Persons (IDPs) on November 28 at a Tbilisi Municipality 
building.  Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava and Minister for 
Refugees and Accommodations Kova Subeliani were present at 
the televised meeting.  Saakashvili instructed both officials 
present to hand over state-owned property occupied by IDPs to 
the occupants.  Saakashvili said if he is elected, he will 
return the IDPs within months in "safety and dignity" to 
Abkhazia.  New Rightists party member Mamuka Katsitadze said 
Saakashvili's instructions to government officials, when he 
is no longer president, are inappropriate and constitute a 
misuse of administrative resources. 
 
--------------------------------------------- 
Khaindrava Discusses Election with Ambassador 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) On November 29, Goga Khaindrava, opposition politician 
and member of the United National Council of Opposition 
(UNC), met with the Ambassador.  He said opposition election 
campaigns are being hindered by a limit on the amount of 
funds that can be withdrawn from personal bank accounts.  He 
also said business owners, especially road construction 
companies, are being summoned to the National Movement Party 
offices to "encourage" a contribution to the campaign. 
 
3. (C) Khaindrava reiterated opposition party complaints of 
unfair distribution of air time by TV companies in favor of 
Saakashvili.  With Imedi TV remaining off air, Khaindrava 
said the opposition has no access to television coverage 
except Kavkasia, which has coverage limited to Tbilisi.  He 
said while Saakasvhili's entire meeting with IDPs was 
broadcast, the opposition only received 2 minutes of coverage 
of their campaign activities.  Central Election Commission 
(CEC) Chairman Levan Tarkhnishvili said equal time will be 
provided after all candidates are officially registered. 
 
4. (C) Khaindrava said UNC candidate Levan Gachechiladze was 
not going to withdraw his candidacy in favor of Badri 
Patarkatsishvili.  He said Gachechiladze did visit Badri 
recently in London, but his primary reason was to visit his 
children studying there.  Khaindrava said he too planned to 
meet with Badri, but added Badri is not a realistic candidate 
for president.  Khaindrava said Badri is using the campaign 
to return to Georgia, since he cannot be indicted if he is a 
candidate. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
GOG Seeks Clarity about Imedi Ownership, Michnik Arrives 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
 
5. (U) National Security Council Secretary Alexander (Kakha) 
Lomaia told the press, "we really want Imedi back on air and 
we are doing everything in our power to make it happen," but 
he could not give an exact date.  Lomaia and PM Lado 
Gurgenidze met with Martin Pompadur, executive vice-president 
of News Corp, over the weekend to discuss Imedi's ownership 
and financial status.  On November 29 the Tbilisi City Court 
sanctioned a Finance Ministry probe into Imedi.  Gurgenidze 
called the government's request to have access to Imedi's 
financial records reasonable.    At the OSCE Ministerial 
Council in Madrid, FM Gela Bezhuashvili told reporters the 
Imedi TV problem will be resolved "through compromise." 
Polish media omsbudman Adam Michnik arrived November 29 in 
Tbilisi and met with opposition representatives and Imedi TV 
journalists in an attempt to mediate a solution to the 
closure of Imedi, help ensure media freedom, and watch for 
violations of journalistic ethics. 
 
-------------------------------- 
Election Campaigns in Full Swing 
-------------------------------- 
 
6. (U) After the final tally, the CEC announced three 
presidential candidates were disqualified for failing to 
provide adequate documentation, bringing the final number to 
nineteen.  Each candidate must now submit 50,000 signatures 
to support their candidacy and have their name put on the 
ballot.  New Rightists candidate Davit Gamkrelidze launched 
his campaign November 29.  He said he would meet with Abkhaz 
 
TBILISI 00002999  002 OF 002 
 
 
leader Sergey Bapapsh in Sokhumi to assure him Georgia would 
not seek a forceful resolution to the conflict in Abkhazia. 
Gamkrelidze also said that, if elected, he would reduce 
defense spending and immediately demand the withdrawal of 
Russian peacekeeping forces from the conflict zones.  Labor 
Party candidate Shalva Natelashvili launched his election 
campaign November 29, promising free education and medical 
care, a stipend of GEL 1000 for each newborn child, and 
halving the cost of gas, electricity and water.  UNC &#x
000A;candidate Levan Gachechiladze said he will launch his 
campaign December 3.  On the same day Badri Patarkatsishvili 
opened his campaign headquarters in Batumi and appointed a 
campaign chair. 
TEFFT

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