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  Thursday, July 2, 2020
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Irina Sarishvili-Chanturia suspects Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania was murdered.
As soon as she announced it, she was harassed with anonymous telephone threats. Ms. Sarishvili-Chanturia urgently applied to the government to appoint her bodyguards. "Otherwise, responsibility for my life will entirely lie with the government," she said to a news conference, reports the Novosti/Georgia news agency. Ms. Sarishvili-Chanturia formerly led the bloc, For New Georgia, which supported previous President Eduard Shevardnadze. She is now head of the nongovernment organization, Popular Defense League. "I can't see just why Zurab Zhvania's death was promptly announced accidental, and why the government is flatly refusing to have independent experts join the investigation," she says. "If Zhvania was really killed, we are to look for his assassins in the corridors of power." Sarishvili-Chanturia regards the Premier's death as an irreparable loss to the Georgian top. "It may spell the beginning of the end of [President] Mikhail Saakashvili's rule." The activist intends to disband her NGO toward the month's end, and establish a political party. She was leader of the National Democratic Party, one of Georgia's most influential, since 1994, and won a parliamentary seat the next year. In autumn 2003, she headed President Shevardnadze's election bloc, For New Georgia.
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