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Georgian Opposition Accuses Government Of Bribery

TBILISI -- The leader of the Georgian opposition Labor Party has accused the government of offering him 4 million euros (about $5 million) in exchange for his party's withdrawal from upcoming local elections, RFE/RL's Georgian Service reports.

Shalva Natelashvili did not name the person who made the offer to him, but said on May 20 that the individual sent by the government was from the Constitutional Security Department.

The Labor Party has called for the opposition to boycott the May 30 local elections because it says disrupting them is the only way to remove President Mikheil Saakashvili and schedule early presidential and parliamentary elections.

Meanwhile, opposition parliament deputy Giorgi Tsagareishvili said he is prepared to initiate impeachment proceedings in parliament against Saakashvili. Tsagareishvili is a member of the Our Georgia -- Free Democrats party, which was set up by opposition leader Irakli Alasania, the former Georgian envoy to the United Nations.

At a press conference on May 18, Tsagareishvili cited Saakashvili's involvement in the Imedi television station's broadcasting of the "Russian invasion" hoax on March 13 -- which caused many viewers to panic because it was not clear it was a dramatization -- as a main reason for seeking his impeachment.

Tsagareishvili said experts have proven the authenticity of calls made by Saakashvili with journalists at the TV station discussing the report. He said if a court rules that Saakashvili has broken the law and violated the constitution with his actions then parliament should begin impeachment proceedings.