Politics

Popular TV host to represent opposition UNM in Tbilisi mayoral race

by | June 26, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s main opposition party is hoping that a popular news anchor will bring it back to power in the politically important position of Tbilisi mayor. The nomination of Zaal Udumashvili, host of the main news program on Georgia’s largest TV channel Rustavi 2,

Politics

TV news anchor may join race for new Tbilisi mayor

by | June 7, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A news anchor on Georgia’s biggest private television channel has confirmed that he may run for mayor of Tbilisi as a candidate for the biggest opposition party UNM. The entry of Zaal Udumashvili, host of the evening news on Rustavi 2,

Politics

Georgia’s ruling party to tap energy minister as new Tbilisi mayor

by | June 6, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling party in Georgia is expected to name Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze as its candidate for new Tbilisi mayor, to replace the incumbent Davit Narmania. Georgian Dream MPs and members of government met on Sunday behind closed

Politics

Public meeting about new constitution interrupted by protests

by | May 18, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A public meeting in Tbilisi on Monday to discuss a set of constitutional amendments was interrupted by two different groups of protesters. The head of the organizing committee now says they will extend the hearing process with a number of extra

Politics

Georgian opposition wants referendum about constitutional changes

by | May 2, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian opposition groups said Monday that the country’s democratic development is being reversed unless a set of constitutional amendments is stopped. The groups demand a referendum about the changes. In a declaration, the opposition listed eight

Politics

Georgia inches closer to one-party rule with new draft Constitution

by | April 23, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is moving closer to one-party rule, opposition groups warn, as a new round of constitutional amendments was approved by a commission on Saturday. Georgians are no strangers to changing their Constitution, but the latest set of amendments 

Politics

Georgian MP injured after colleague throws ashtray, hits wrong person

by | April 19, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of the Georgian parliament was lightly injured on Wednesday, after a verbal and physical confrontation that led to an ashtray being hurled at his face. Otar Kakhidze was accidentally hit by an ashtray during a confrontation

Politics

Georgian president accuses ruling GD of stalling democratic reforms

by | April 7, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Friday slammed the governing GD party for dragging its feet on the way to further democratic reforms and claimed there is a ‘crisis’ in the justice system. The president launched the broadside during

Politics

Georgian president vetoes controversial surveillance bill

by | March 20, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Monday vetoed a surveillance bill which civil society groups claim does not go far enough in reining in the powers of the secret police. Also opposition parties have criticized the bill. They suspect that it will give

Politics

Georgian opposition party will not face charges for planting pot

by | February 25, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Members of an opposition party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia will not be prosecuted for planting cannabis in their office on New Year’s Eve because the saplings contained too little of the forbidden narcotic substance. The New Year’s Eve pot

Politics

Georgia’s parliament has 41 millionaires

by | February 20, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--41 members of the Georgian parliament are millionaires (in GELs); 37 persons from the Georgian Dream majority and 4 members of two opposition parties, United National Movement and Alliance of Patriots. There are six millionaire ministers

Politics

Ex-laywer elected new Free Democrats leader

by | February 19, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former lawyer has been elected chairman of the embattled Free Democrats, perhaps the most staunchly pro-western party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The Free Democrats’ failure to win any seats in the 2016 parliamentary elections coupled with

Politics

13 UNM activists arrested at rally outside Tbilisi City Hall

by | February 14, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A demonstration in front of Tbilisi City Hall on Monday turned violent when activists for the United National Movement (UNM) tried to break into City Hall in order to meet Mayor Davit Narmania. Thirteen members of the opposition supporters were

Politics

President, civil rights groups reject new surveillance regulations bill

by | February 1, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A working group within the Georgian parliament on Monday proposed to establish a new agency under the State Security Service to monitor telephone and internet communications, as well as conduct video and audio eavesdropping.

Politics

Republican Party appoints woman to key position

by | January 24, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party in the former Soviet republic of Georgia on Saturday appointed a woman former lawmaker as new political secretary. The appointment the 39-year-old lawyer Tamar Kordzaia is seen as a move to promote gender equality in politics.

Politics

Georgia’s largest opposition party on the verge of breaking up

by | December 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s biggest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), is on the verge of splitting in two, as its key figures claim the party is in the midst of a ‘coup attempt’. Givi Targamadze, the former chair of the defense and security

Politics

Healthcare and infrastructure top priorities in Georgia’s 2017 budget

by | December 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Following fierce debate between opposition and ruling Georgian Dream members, Georgia’s legislative body on Wednesday approved the 2017 state budget by 102 votes in favor and 10 against. The upcoming state budget envisages GEL 9.489 billion

Politics

Georgian opera singer Paata Burchuladze ends stint as politician

by | December 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Paata Burchuladze, a Georgian opera singer who formed a political coalition which participated in the October 8 election, announced his departure from politics on Wednesday. Local media outlets wrote that the new leader of the party will be historian Nika Machutadze.

Politics

Georgia’s former ruling party fires senior functionaries

by | December 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The infighting in the United National Movement (UNM) continued on Wednesday as 20 members from the main opposition party's central administration were dismissed. The dismissal impacted mostly those who side with Saakashvili loyalist Chiora Taktakishvili,

Politics

President boycotts constitutional commission, calls for public hearing

by | December 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili may refrain from participating in the work of the state constitutional commission and instead start ‘actively lobbying’ for launching a public discussion regarding constitutional amendments,

Politics

UNM barely avoids splitting in two after talk of ditching Saakashvili

by | December 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The faction supporting Mikheil Saakashvili narrowly won a debate at a National Movement party conference on Wednesday. A  resolution was passed to hold a party convention in the format favored by the country’s former president.

Politics

Founder of failed UNM splinter party leaves politics to start lobbying firm

by | November 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former lawmaker with background from the National Movement announced on Monday that he is leaving politics, after founding and campaigning for the splinter party Girchi. Pavle Kublashvili, a former head of the justice committee in parliament,

Politics

Georgian parliament approves new government

by | November 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament Saturday passed a vote of confidence in a new cabinet government formed after Georgian Dream won a landslide in the October 8 election. 110 MPs voted for and 19 against a cabinet, which had only three personnel changes

Politics

Georgian interior minister lists achievements ahead of confidence vote

by | November 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Acting Interior Minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili showed up at several committee hearings on Wednesday as parliamentarians were preparing for a vote of confidence in the new cabinet. Listing his ministry's achievements, Mghebrishvili said police in Georgia

Politics

Georgia’s Prime Minister reveals new cabinet: Who’s in and who’s out?

by | November 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s acting head of government Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Tuesday unveiled his new cabinet, with only minor personnel changes from the last one. One notable change is the promotion of Dimitri Kumsishvili from Economy Minister to the more important

Politics

Georgian parliamentarians appointed faction leaders

by | November 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The newly elected parliament mits first session on Friday, and one of its first decisions was to register five factions and the majority and minority. The Georgian Dream majority consists of 116 MPs. 115 are members of Georgian Dream, which received

Politics

Government takes caretaker role as parliament begins selecting new cabinet

by | November 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament approved the composition of the new parliament on Friday, and the government now has a caretaker role until lawmakers has approved a new government. MPs voted to recognize the authority of the ninth parliamentary assembly.

Politics

UNM member refuses to serve in Adjara’s supreme council

by | November 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A politician for the UNM party in Adjara has refused to serve in the region’s supreme council, echoing a recent decision by Sandra Roelofs, the former first lady, to not take her seat in parliament. Levan Varshalomidze, former chairman of the Adjara government,

Politics

UNM nominates parliament posts while discussing successor to Saakashvili

by | November 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement has nominated Sergi Kapanadze as vice speaker of parliament from the minority. The leader of the parliamentary minority will still remain Davit Bakradze. He was speaker of parliament from 2008 to 2012. Nika Melia, who was UNM’s candidate

Politics

Sandra Roelofs refuses to serve as member of Georgia’s parliament

by | November 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former first lady Sandra Roelofs has turned down her mandate to serve as a member of parliament despite being among the top ten names on the National Movement’s party list. On Monday, Roelofs asked the Central Election Commission (CEC)

Politics

GD presents its list of committee heads in the new parliament

by | November 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a landslide victory in the election, Georgian Dream bigwigs gathered on Sunday to agree on key appointments for the new parliament. After the political council session was over, GD announced its list of candidates, which, not surprisingly,

Politics

GD considers its party secretary as new speaker of parliament

by | November 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After several weeks of speculation, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Friday confirmed that the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party is considering its secretary Irakli Kobakhidze for the post as new speaker of parliament. It was expected that the stern

Politics

GD plans to replace ministers in charge of the economy

by | November 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a crushing victory in the parliamentary elections, Georgia’s ruling party this week began the work of forming a new government. Several changes have been proposed ahead of a meeting in the GD political council to take place at the end of this week.

Politics

Speaker of parliament leaves Republican Party

by | October 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili on Saturday announced his resignation and departure from the Republican Party, which he was leader of from 2005 to 2013. He stated his reason as disagreement with the founders and current leadership about the party’s

Politics

Free Democrats rebels vow to support GD in second round of election

by | October 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several key figures in Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats party have expressed support for the ruling Georgian Dream before the second round of the parliamentary elections in most majoritarian districts. "In a few days, there will be a second round.

Politics

National Movement decides to not boycott parliament

by | October 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After considering a boycott of parliament, the National Movement on Tuesday turned back from the drastic measure and decided to participate in the second round of the election and take their seats in parliament. Some party members wanted

Politics

UNM political council convenes Tuesday to set out post-election path

by | October 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement plans to convene the party’s political council Tuesday evening to discuss further plans after dismissing the results of the parliamentary election. Some proposed to boycott the second round of the majoritorian elections

Politics

Buoyed by election result, GD begins pushing for constitutional amendments

by | October 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Already before the official election results have been announced, the ruling Georgian Dream party is talking about making two constitutional amendments. Another round of single-seat districts has still not been held, and no-one knows how many members

Politics

Saakashvili mocks Ivanishvili: ‘You are destined for defeat’

by | October 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvil has mocked his main opponent former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, saying he was destined for defeat in the October 8 election. Saakashvili, who is governor of Odessa in Ukraine,

Politics

Two wounded in shooting at political rally in Georgia

by | October 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian defense minister claims he was the target when shots were fired during an election rally in Gori, a town 60km northwest of Tbilisi, on Sunday. Irakli Okruashvili was meeting voters in the town where he is a candidate

Politics

Ivanishvili recommends Garibashivili as future president

by | September 27, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Businessman and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said Monday that he would like to see Irakli Garibashvili as president. Ivanishvili said this while meeting with local media in Rustavi, a town south of Tbilisi. He said the former PM is ‘a good option for a spare’

Politics

Saakashvili preparing to stoke unrest ahead of election: Georgian PM

by | September 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili claims that Mikheil Saakashvili’s party has started several new organizations in order to foment unrest in Georgia ahead of the election. One of the new organizations started by the National Movement is Georgia in the Name

Politics

Ex-ally claims opera star who formed new party is a puppet of Ivanishvili

by | September 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Another prominent member left opera singer Paata Burchuladze’s party on Tuesday, accusing State for People of being financed by former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. “I am leaving Paata Burchuladze’s party, because it is not Paata

Politics

Ivanishvili blasts Burjanadze: Your non-bloc idea is a bluff

by | September 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili lashed out at opposition politician Nino Burjanadze on Sunday, accusing her of bluffing when she proposed that Georgia should declare a non-bloc status. Burjanadze, a former parliament speaker,

Politics

‘Georgia should have a U.S. military base before it gets into NATO’

by | September 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party wants to have a U.S. military base in Georgia before the country becomes a full member of NATO. This was one of the statements made by Republican Party members during a debate on Rustavi 2 Tuesday evening,

Politics

Should Georgia’s foreign policy alignment be defined in the Constitiution?

by | August 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two proposals to define Georgia’s foreign policy alignment in the Constitution were postponed by a parliament committee because not enough MPs showed up. The rebellious opposition leader who started the debate now claims parliament has violated election rules.

Politics

Free Democrats promises to decriminalize all drug use

by | August 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats promises a liberal drug policy and the decriminalization of all forms of drugs if they come to power. But the punishment for drug dealing will be tougher, the party’s healthcare strategist Nikoloz Pruidze

Politics

GD nominates candidates for parliament from Tbilisi districts

by | August 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream party on Monday nominated its majoritarian candidates in most of Tbilisi’s 21 electoral districts. The exception was the downtown Mtatsminda district, where GD refrained from nominating a candidate to support

Politics

Election ad featuring Putin causes outcry in Georgia

by | August 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ten seconds long election video has caused a strong reaction from Georgia’s political establishment and calls for using legal means to stop the party behind it. The provocative advertisement ran on the Public Broadcaster’s Channel 1 Saturday night

Politics

National Forum politician’s home broken into

by | August 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The home of a candidate for parliament from the National Forum was broken into Thursday night, a few days after the party’s office was robbed. Tamar Tsikhiseli told journalists that the burglars didn’t steal anything. She thinks the people

Politics

President meets group who proposed referendum to define marriage

by | August 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili will Tuesday meet the Georgians who proposed holding a referendum about defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Giorgi Abashishvili, head of the president’s administration,

Politics

Former UNM members join New Rightists in bloc called ‘New Choice’

by | August 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two political parties formed by ex-National Movement members together with an opposition party without representatives in parliament on Friday launched a new election bloc for the upcoming parliamentary election. The name of the new

Politics

GD names Shevardnadze era minister as candidate for parliament

by | July 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Koba Narchemashvili, who was interior minister at the moment when Eduard Shevardnadze was deposed as president in the Rose Revolution, was Tuesday nominated by Georgian Dream as majoritarian candidate for parliament. As commander

Politics

Republican Party tops reject offer to join Georgian Dream

by | July 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of the Republican Party says he and other party tops have received an offer from the ruling Georgian Dream to abandon their own party and join them ahead of the election, but they rejected the offer. In an interview with the newspaper

Politics

Opinion polls differ wildly 3 months ahead of Georgian election

by | June 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two opinion polls show vastly different levels of support for the two main contenders in Georgia’s parliamentary election, scheduled for October 8. A poll conducted by Georgian Dream gives the party a lead of 35 percent, with the United National

Politics

Georgian Dream slams minister’s decision to end conscription

by | June 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli’s decision on Monday to end compulsory military service sparked a variety of negative comments from members of the ruling party, Georgian Dream. Khidasheli is a member of the Republican Party,

Politics

Ivanishvili plans to build new hotel on the border with Abkhazia

by | June 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has revealed a plan to build a luxury hotel in western Georgia on the border with the breakaway region Abkhazia. He told journalists on Friday that he also has some other plans which he will disclose when they are approved.

Politics

Georgia’s PM has selected replacement for Republican ministers

by | May 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who was elected as a leader of Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia party on Saturday, told Imedi TV that he has candidates to replace ministers from the Republican Party in case they resign. A few weeks ago,

Politics

Fmr Saakashvili official who brought simpler services launches new party

by | May 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian politician who was deputy justice minister during Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency has left the National Movement and plans to start a new party. Giorgi Vashadze is perhaps best known for having overseen the reform known as

Politics

Georgian parliament to discuss constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

by | May 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Public discussion about amending the constitution to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman are over and parliament will start discussing the bill next week. The amendment will determine marriage as a voluntary

Politics

Saakashvili confident his party will return to power in Georgia

by | April 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mikheil Saakashvili, the former Georgian president and current governor of Odessa, told a Georgian TV channel on Sunday that he is confident of victory for his political party in the parliamentary election in October, and afterward

Politics

National Forum withdraws from coalition, parliamentary majority

by | April 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--National Forum withdrew from the governing Georgian Dream coalition -on Sunday, and the following day party leaders said they are also withdrawing from the parliamentary majority. Leader of the party Kakha Shartava

Politics

Republicans and Georgian Dream to run as independent parties

by | March 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two of the parties in the governing Georgian Dream coalition have decided to run as independent parties in the upcoming parliamentary election. The Republican Party declared Thursday that they plan to participate in the election independently,

Politics

Head of Georgia’s National Bank calls for merging ministries to save money

by | February 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of the National Bank suggests reducing the number of ministries in Georgia in order to save public money. In an interview with Rustavi 2, Giorgi Kadagidze drew attention to Switzerland, a developed country which has eight ministries,

Politics

Georgian president will hold annual address to parliament on February 3

by | February 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president’s annual state of the nation address will be delivered at the opening of the spring session of parliament on February 3. Giorgi Kverenchkhiadze, who is parliamentary secretary for President Giorgi Margvelashvili,

Politics

Director of Ivanishvili’s Cartu Bank appointed deputy mayor of Tbilisi

by | January 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of Cartu Bank was appointed deputy mayor of Tbilisi on Thursday. Presenting his new deputy, Mayor Davit Narmania said that Giorgi Liluashvili has the experience and skills necessary to be a good manager. He listed Liluashvili’s past positions,

Politics

Zalkaliani of the Free Democrats appointed deputy foreign minister

by | January 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on Friday as expected appointed Davit Zalkaliani as deputy foreign minister, the same position he held before resigning in November 2014. Zalkaliani was deputy foreign minister from 2012 to 2014, but resigned when his party

Politics

Former deputy foreign minister who left post is reappointed

by | January 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former deputy foreign minister from the opposition Free Democrats Party is to return to his post following a proposal by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. The Free Democrats party, which came to power in 2012 as part of the

Politics

The government needs renewal, says GD founder Ivanishvili

by | December 31, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--There is a need for new people in the Georgian Dream government, businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili said Wednesday evening, in his first public comments on the change of prime minister and other recent developments in the coalition

Politics

Georgian parliament approves new Kvirikashvili government

by | December 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament approved the new government on Tuesday by 86 votes against 28. Lawmakers debated the government program all day, sparring with new Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili into late night hours. Both the two

Politics

Incoming PM defends economic policy

by | December 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's prime minister in waiting defended his handling of the economic crisis as he answered questions from parliamentarians on Monday ahead of a confirmation vote today, Tuesday. As expected, Giorgi Kvirikashvili's tenure as economy minister

Politics

New PM plans no changes in cabinet – for now

by | December 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the designated new prime minister of Georgia, plans to present his cabinet tomorrow. The list is expected to be almost identical to the current government, but he does not rule out changes in the future. The former vice prime minister

Politics

President supports Kvirikashvili as new PM and asks parliament for approval

by | December 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili Friday supported the ruling coalition’s nominee, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, as candidate for new prime minister and asked parliament to approve him. The president’s administration supported Kvirikashvili’s candidacy

Politics

GD coalition to discuss new PM at session Friday

by | December 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The candidate for new prime minister will be discussed at a session of the Georgian Dream coalition on Friday, the speaker of parliament said Wednesday evening after the PM announced his resignation. Speaker Davit Usupashvili

Politics

NDI poll shows small Georgian Dream lead, voters still indifferent

by | December 21, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A poll published on Monday shows the ruling Georgian Dream coalition back in the lead, and a surge in voters' apathy slightly abating. The latest National Democratic Institute (NDI) poll, carried out in late November, early December, shows that if there

Politics

Opposition activists on hunger strike taken to hospital

by | November 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several members of the party Alliance of Patriots were taken to the hospital on Tuesday after going on a hunger strike ten days ago. Emzar Kvitsiani, Manana Abuseridze, Lali Khutsishvili and Ada Marshania were brought to Chapidze clinic, while

Politics

Georgian Stalin admirer quits as member of parliament

by | November 10, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--An MP from the ruling coalition who was recently criticized for praising Joseph Stalin, announced that he plans to resign as member of parliament after a draft bill he proposed has been discussed. Gogi Topadze from the Industrialists

Politics

Poll shows Georgian voters increasingly apathetic

by | October 18, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a new poll, 35 percent of Georgians say they don’t know who they would vote for if there were a parliamentary election tomorrow. The poll, which was published by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) shows that both the Georgian Dream

Politics

Georgia’s parliament may consider mandatory gender quotas

by | September 25, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The human rights committee in Georgia’s parliament Thursday favored a law that would guarantee that at least 25% of representatives are women. The law concerns those representatives who are elected

Politics

Leader of parliamentary majority quits to head investment fund

by | September 24, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A leading member of parliament from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition is leaving in order to take the helm of the government's Partnership Fund. It is not yet known who will replace Davit Saganelidze as member of parliament. According

Politics

President signs into law controversial bank supervision bill

by | September 11, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president Thursday signed a bill into law that will take away responsibility for supervising private banks from the National Bank and hand it to a new agency controlled by the government. President Giorgi Margvelashvili, the

Politics

National Movement registers for by-election without candidates

by | September 7, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement, former ruling party, does not plan to put up candidates in the by-elections for two vacant seats in the Georgian parliament. Instead, the former ruling party plans to use its legally guaranteed free commercial time on TV. The governing

News, Politics

Comment about the president and knitting pins rattles parliament

by | September 3, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A statement by a leading parliamentarian about the president and knitting pins has caused puzzlement in Georgia. A spokesman for the president’s administration called it insulting and unethical. "I blame Ivanishvili for taking the knitting pins out of the hands of the NGO and Soros guys ("ენჯეოელი სოროსელი")

Politics

Georgian Dream ramping up for the parliamentary election

by | August 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--As Bidzina Ivanishvili’s party is ramping up for the 2016 parliamentary election, it is still unknown whether Georgian Dream will run as a coalition, as in previous elections. The political council of Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia

Politics

Georgian PM names Giorgi Mgebrishvili as new interior minister

by | August 3, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili wants Prison Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili to become new interior minister. The position is vacant after a reform that splits the interior ministry, creating a new Security Service. Mgebrishvili

Politics

Georgian president vetoes National Bank bill

by | July 31, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Friday vetoed a controversial National Bank bill which would mean that the government takes charge of the supervision of private banks. The president made his reasons for blocking the bill,

Politics

Georgian MP confused EBRD with a brothel

by | July 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of parliament from the governing coalition on Wednesday defended himself against what he thought was innuendo implying that he had visited a brothel. The speech by Soso Jachvliani, an armwrestler, actor and film director who is also

Politics

Gomelauri confirmed as head of Georgia’s new counterintelligence

by | July 22, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri was approved as new head of the State Security Service on Wednesday, as the ministry he has headed until now is split in two. Facing questions from parliamentarians, Gomelauri said that one

Politics

Georgia’s interior minister will head new security service

by | July 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has named current Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri as new head of the State Security Service, a body that is created as the MIA is split in two. If confirmed by parliament, Gomelauri will leave his

Politics

Georgian president signs law that will split Interior Ministry

by | July 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Ministry of Interior will be split in two on August 1, and a new body called the State Security Service will come into existence. President Giorgi Margvelashvili has signed the law about splitting the ministry, which means that it is in force.

Politics

Georgian parliament approves controversial bank bill

by | June 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia approved a bill on Sunday which will relieve the National Bank of responsibility for supervising private banks and instead transfer such authority to a new agency. The vote was preliminary, as the bill must go through

Politics

Judicial committee joins president in resisting National Bank bill

by | June 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament’s judiciary committee agree with the president about a proposed bill to strip away the bank supervisory function from the National Bank, claiming that it violates the constitution. Committee chair Vakhtang Khmaladze said on Friday

Politics

Georgian president to veto National Bank bill

by | June 25, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--For at least the second time, the situation between the Georgian parliament and the president has become tense. Now the president plans to veto an initiative concerning the president of the National Bank. Since the president and non-governmental

Politics

Consultations begin to find new National Bank head

by | June 24, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president is starting consultations to find a new head of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG). Current NBG head Giorgi Kadagidze was appointed during Saakashvili’s presidency for a seven years term which expires in February, 2016. According

Politics

Georgian government to have a ‘mountain minister’

by | June 11, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream coalition wants to create a new minister post in the government: mountain minister. The initiative is quite fresh, and the public and opposition MPs have not yet formed an opinion about the idea because not many details are known.

Politics

NGOs propose women’s quota in parliament

by | June 10, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Non-governmental organizations have registered a legislative proposal in parliament on Wednesday that will obligate political parties to include women on their party lists for the parliamentary election. Currently, 77 out of the 150 members of parliament

Politics

Georgian president to veto bank supervision bill

by | June 10, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president is preparing to veto a bill to form an independent supervisory agency to oversee the banking system, because it contradicts an association agreement which Georgia signed with the EU last year. Recently, the government

Politics

Saakashvili allies left party to save Georgia from ‘pro-Russian forces’

by | May 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four former members of the National Movement say they left the party to save the country from ‘pro-Russian forces’ which may come to power in the 2016 parliamentary election. Zurab Japaridze, Goga Khachidze, Pavle Kublashvili and Giorgi Meladze

Politics

Georgia strips bank supervision authority from the National Bank

by | May 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has decided to strip the National Bank of responsibility for supervising banks and transfer this mechanism to the prime minister. The decision follows months of criticism by the government against the head of the National

Politics

Georgian government draws up plan for breakup of Interior Ministry

by | May 17, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has drawn up a plan to split the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) into two units, with counterintelligence kept separately and under parliamentary control. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced the revived

Politics

Georgia’s ruling coalition has lost half its support

by | May 13, 2015

ndiTBILISI, DFWatch--A new poll shows that the ruling coalition has lost almost half of its support since last year, while the National Movement has slightly increased its support. For other parties there is no significant change. If there were held a parliamentary

Politics

Georgian government wins confidence vote in parliament

by | May 9, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a week of political speculation, the ruling coalition declared confidence in the new government and its plan. The vote took place late at night on Friday, after MPs had been asking questions to cabinet members the whole day. There was some

Politics

Georgian government will face vote of confidence on Friday

by | May 7, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament will hold a vote of confidence about the new government May 8 at 13:00, by request of the speaker of parliament, who asked the president to schedule a special session at that time. The government has been pretending

Politics

Parliament anxiously awaiting the president’s list for new government

by | May 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Friday is the last day for the president to present parliament with his candidates for a new government. Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili Tuesday evening warned President Giorgi Margvelashvili about the terms of the procedure by saying

Politics

New ministers begin working before approval in parliament

by | May 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three new ministers Monday started working, even though they haven't been approved by parliament yet. Constitutional experts say it is unlikely that they have a right to function as ministers. The three new appointees arrived at their respective

Politics

Georgian PM appoints more western-oriented new ministers

by | May 1, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili named three new ministers on Friday, two of whom are members of the Republican Party, which is regarded as a more western-oriented coalition member. The nominations are made against the backdrop

Politics

Georgian PM: Resignations are part of ‘healthy political process’

by | April 29, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili says the resignations of two ministers, triggering a new vote of confidence, is a ‘healthy political process.’ There will be no more replacements, he added. A third of the ministers have now been changed since

Politics

Ivanishvili claims the president has joined the opposition

by | April 28, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili claims the president he handpicked has in fact become part of the opposition to the government coalition. He said this on his own show 2030 on GDS, a TV channel belonging to his rapper son Bera.

Politics

Georgian parliament to discuss low lari rate again

by | April 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia is calling on the group of economy ministers to explain themselves again about the falling currency rate, but the finance minister claims the drop in the lari's value is only temporary. The value of the Georgian lari started

Politics

Georgian minister says defense deal with France not called off

by | April 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s defense minister denies allegations by his predecessor that negotiations with France about a defense deal have ended. But the French ambassador to Georgia claims Georgia has not signed any air defense deal with France.

Politics

Free Democrats lose its members in Tbilisi City Council

by | April 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania’s party have withdrawn as a faction in the city council. The reason, they explain, is ‘incompatibility’ with his party, the Free Democrats. The Free Democrats Party was a member

Politics

Georgian Dream losing support according to IRI poll

by | April 1, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's governing coalition has lost support, while the former ruling party has gained, according to the latest poll by International Republican Institute (IRI), published Wednesday. If there were held parliamentary elections next Sunday,

Politics

Georgia to hold by-election in Martvili as parliament member passes away

by | March 17, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--There will be this a by-election in one election district in Georgia to elect a replacement for a majoritarian member of parliament who passed away. Nauli Janashia, 68, represented Martvili, a town in the western Samegrelo region,

Politics

Georgian parliament again fails to hold crisis session

by | March 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament again failed to hold an extraordinary session about how to tackle a drastic drop in the value of the national currency, the lari. Again, the reason for cancelling the plenary session was that parliament members from the governing

Politics

Parliament meets Friday for crisis session

by | March 11, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president on Tuesday called a special parliamentary session dedicated to the monetary crisis in the country on March 13 at 12:00. The president’s administration published a decree signed by Giorgi Margvelashvili, which specifies

Politics

Saakashvili’s party again demands answers from government

by | March 9, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement party warns of an economic crisis in Georgia and demands measures from the government. The government claims the situation is under control and the ruling coalition sees no need for scheduling the special session.

Politics

Georgia’s govt fails to present crisis plan by March 5 deadline

by | March 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia says it has not yet prepared an action plan for tackling the currency crisis after a drastic drop in the value of the national currency lari over the last few months. An action plan was expected on March 5, after

Politics

Georgia’s governing coalition received most donations in 2014

by | March 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream received almost 82 percent of all political donations in Georgia in 2014. In total, 7.4 million laris (USD 3.7 million) was donated to political parties and subjects last year. The State Audit Office, a government body tasked

Politics

Saakashvili’s party planning rallies to unseat the government

by | March 2, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former ruling party, the National Movement, is preparing to take to the streets this spring in a change of roles since a few years back. The call comes after the government refused to show up in parliament on Saturday to debate

Politics

Head of Georgia’s National Bank may be impeached for ‘inaction’

by | February 28, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president of Georgia’s National Bank may be impeached after former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Thursday accused him of inaction in the face of a sudden thirty percent drop in the lari. The National Bank is an independent body whose

Politics

Wrestling world champion confirmed as member of Georgian parliament

by | February 19, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian wrestler and double Olympic bronze medalist on Tuesday became a member of parliament. Luka Kurtanidze will be replacing Tamaz Avdaliani, who recently passed away due to illness. Eldar (Luka) Kurtanidze is on the same party list,

Politics

Saakashvili’s party will never get back in power: Ivanishvili

by | February 16, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Godfather of the government coalition in Georgia, financier Bidzina Ivanishvili, said in a newspaper interview this weekend that he doesn’t think the National Movement party will ever be able to get back in power. The National Movement

Politics

Georgian president meets with candidates for new Supreme Court head

by | February 15, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Saturday met for more than five hours with candidates for new head of the Supreme Court to learn about their plans and programs. Margvelashvili is continuing his selection of candidates for new

Politics

City Hall employee accused of corruption placed in pre-trial detention

by | February 14, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of Tbilisi City Hall’s supervision service was Friday placed in to pre-trial detention on charges of bribery. During the court hearing, Prosecutor Malkhaz Getsadze said that the accused, Jokia Bodokia, accepted a bribe from Darioushi,

Politics

City Hall employee denies corruption charges

by | February 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of City Hall’s supervision service pleaded not guilty in the case of taking a bribe in return for facilitating the construction of a new hotel. Jokia Bodokia was detained on Wednesday. His lawyer, Giorgi Kavlashvili, told journalists that his client

Politics

Brawl in Georgian parliament

by | December 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliamentarians on Friday got into a physical scuffle hitting microphones at each other because they didn't agree on how to distribute delegates to the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe. The ruling coalition proposed reshuffling

Politics

Governing coalition may dismiss Free Democrats committee head

by | December 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The governing coalition is discussing whether to dismiss the head of parliament's finance and budget committee, because he is a member of a party that left the coalition. The parliamentary majority believes it would be a mistake to have a representative

Politics

Ivanishvili’s new barrage against Alasania: ‘You are a weak manager’

by | December 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--On Thursday, Georgia’s richest person and godfather of the governing coalition again lashed out at Irakli Alasania, calling him ‘a weak manager’ who has made an ‘ignorant statement’. Alasania was recently dismissed and claims it was

Politics

Georgia’s surveillance bill passed, now up to president

by | November 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament on Friday finally passed a law about secret surveillance that grants the Interior Ministry direct access to secret surveillance material with 73 votes in favor and 30 against. The ‘keys issue’, as it has come to be known

Politics

Georgian parliament makes new attempt to agree on surveillance reform

by | November 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has still not decided who should have access to secret surveillance material, a problem that has remained unresolved for more than half a year. But this week, parliament is to review several legislative proposals. A previous vote that

Politics

Government bloc in parliament grows to 87

by | November 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The governing Georgian Dream coalition on Monday increased the number of seats it controls in parliament to 87, as twelve majoritarians agreed to support the bloc. The same day as the twelve decided to join the majority, the Free Democrats officially

Politics

Ex-defense minister’s party aims for victory in 2016 election

by | November 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s dismissed defense minister, Irakli Alasania, feels optimistic that his party which recently left the governing coalition will win in the parliamentary election of 2016. The Free Democrats on Saturday held a party conference, which with

Politics

Georgia’s ruling coalition loses one more parliament member

by | November 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream coalition received another unexpected blow Friday when one of its active members switched sides and joined the dismissed defense minister’s political party. Nevertheless, GD says the loss of Shalva Shavgulidze

Politics

Dismissed defense minister met Ivanishvili

by | November 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, who was dismissed a few days ago, Thursday evening met Bidzina Ivanishvili, the businessman who brought together the Georgian Dream coalition. Ivanishvili has avoided public statements since he left

Politics

Georgia’s ruling coalition struggling to maintain majority in parliament

by | November 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, the party of the recently dismissed defense minister is rushing to try to deprive Georgian Dream of its majority, while the coalition is trying to retain it. If all ten members of the Free Democrats faction leave the coalition, this will

Politics

Georgian PM castigates dismissed defense minister

by | November 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili castigated former Defense Minister Irakli Alasania on Thursday, calling him ‘a traitor’ and ‘an opportunist’. “What Alasania did, is a betrayal of the victory of 2012 and an attempt to deceive the Georgian

Politics

One party leaves Georgia’s govt coalition in midst of political crisis

by | November 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government coalition in Georgia is in its worst crisis till now, as one party leaves and questions are raised about its western oriented course. Two ministers resigned in protest against the dismissal of the defense minister the day before, but the crisis

Politics

Georgian PM fires defense minister over corruption case

by | November 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili dismissed his defense minister Tuesday evening, hours after the Prosecutor’s Office brought charges against six more Defense Ministry officials. The sacked minister, Irakli Alasania, was one of the most

Politics

Georgian president vetoes postponement of surveillance reform

by | October 31, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili Friday vetoed a decision by the Georgian parliament to postpone a decision about reining in the use secret surveillance by the state. The veto is a highly confrontational move that could be a precursor of a major rift

News, Politics

PM’s relative appointed party secretary

by | October 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A relative of the Georgian prime minister has been appointed as executive secretary of the Georgian Dream Party, the largest member of the government coalition by the same name. It was a unanimous decision by the political council of the Georgian

News, Politics

Georgian president says he may resign

by | September 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has said he may dissolve parliament or step down if this is needed to avert a political crisis. After months of simmering conflict between him and the government, both part of the same coalition, there was

News, Politics

Georgian president denies that he plans to split from coalition

by | September 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s president has rejected suggestions that he is planning to set up his own political party, despite an apparent widening split between him and the government coalition. Speculations of a possible new opposition party seeing the light of day

News, Politics

Council member in Adjara accuses local official of corruption

by | September 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There was further infighting in Georgia's government coalition  on Thursday as a member of the council in the Adjara region accused a local finance official of corruption. The accusation was put forth as the official, Davit Baladze, September 18 briefed

News, Politics

Split widened between Georgia’s president and government

by | September 17, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The conflict between the Georgian president and the government soured even more on Wednesday after the TV company Rustavi 2 exposed private correspondence between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the president’s administration.

News, Politics

Tbilisi mayor says former government squandered city’s money

by | September 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Tbilisi mayor says the city must tighten its belt, because the National Movement, which ruled the city for a decade, left 'the worst budget ever'. Newly elected Mayor Davit Narmania from the Georgian Dream Coalition said on Tuesday that

News, Politics

Georgian businessman Ivanishvili criticizes president

by | September 11, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a rare interview, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has criticized President Giorgi Margvelashvili for harming the country’s image. Ivanishvili left politics after the presidential election in October, 2013. He said in an interview

News, Politics

Georgia sending two delegations to UN

by | September 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili will attend the UN Climate Summit 2014 despite the express wishes of Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili. The president has said many times that he will go to the US and his plan about the visit hasn’t changed.

News, Politics

Georgian president no longer to oversee student scholarships

by | September 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government wants to strip the president of the power to set terms for student scholarships and studies abroad. A new draft law about higher education will if passed let the it be up to the government to confirm the use of student advantages,

News, Politics

Georgian president defends decision to use lavish palace

by | August 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili last year thought the presidential palace was too luxurious for him to use, but now he defends his decision to make it his place of work. In the presidential election campaign in October, 2013, Margvelashvili

News, Politics

Georgian president rebuffs MP for criticizing Bildt

by | August 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia President Giorgi Margvelashvili has rebuffed a parliamentarian in his own coalition for criticizing a tweet by Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt. The controversy started when Bildt criticized the criminal charges against former President Mikheil

News, Politics

New ministers confirmed by lighthearted Georgian parliament

by | July 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Though officially on summer break, the parliament in Georgia convened on Saturday to declare trust in the government after seven of the ministers were replaced. The vote ended with 89 out of 150 representatives declaring trust in the government. No-one

News, Politics

Insults exchanged in parliament’s human rights committee

by | July 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two members of the Georgian parliament insulted each other on Thursday during a meeting of the human rights committee. The committee was discussing the Public Defender’s annual report for 2013 when Chiora Taktakishvili from the National Movement

News, Politics

New Georgian culture minister a government insider

by | July 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Wednesday presented economist Mikheil Giorgadze, a government insider, as new culture minister. The PM on Monday dismissed seven ministers, but immediately reappointed two of them in new ministerial positions.

News, Politics

Georgian PM names all but one of new ministers

by | July 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Tuesday named another four out of seven candidates to fill the empty ministers seats left in a major government reshuffle. The first two replacements - for refugee minister and environment minister

News, Politics

Seven ministers replaced in Georgian government reshuffle

by | July 21, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on Monday fired seven ministers: the ministers for agriculture, prisons, refugees, environment, infrastructure, culture and diaspora. Explaining his decision at a morning briefing, he said that for the last two

News, Politics

New Tbilisi city assembly convenes after the election

by | July 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new Tbilisi City Council on Monday held its first session after the local election to elect a new council head. Only nine members are being carried over from the previous assembly; four from the Georgian Dream coalition and five from

News, Politics

Tbilisi’s ex-mayor accused of embezzlement involving parking fees

by | June 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The former mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava, was Monday charged with embezzlement involving the city’s parking company. In a statement the Finance Ministry’s investigative service says the company CT Park Ltd, which hires parking

News, Politics

Campaign finance watchdog wants to fine the government

by | June 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The public watchdog overseeing the financial activity of political parties in Georgia claims that the government coalition has received an illegal donation of GEL 40,000 (USD 22,500). The Financial Monitoring Service of the Georgian

News, Politics

Georgian president will not attend signing of EU treaty

by | June 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president, whose authority includes signing international treaties and who delegated the right to sign the Association Agreement with EU to the prime minister, won’t be in the Georgian delegation. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze

News, Politics

Two of Georgian president’s top people left

by | June 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president's foreign policy adviser Vano Machavariani left his job on Friday. The head of the president’s administration, Lasha Abashidze, also resigned. Both delivered a written resignation, but Machavariani told

News, Politics

Georgian PM expects ‘adequate assessment’ of his efforts

by | June 4, 2014

Tbilisi, Dfwatch - Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili hopes that a progress done by Georgia will be ‘adequately assessed’ on the upcoming NATO Summit in Wales, but he also thinks it is not advisable to speak of this issue in advance, as it raises false expectations among his fellow counterparts.

Politics, Youth

Parties in Georgia don’t pay enough attention to youth

by | June 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three youth politicians told DF Watch in a recent discussion that political parties in Georgia do not pay much attention to youth problems. On May 31, Tako Kakabadze from New Rightists Party’s youth wing, Ako Goguadze from the youth wing of the

News, Politics

Georgian president maintains signing power remains with him

by | May 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili maintains that he should sign Georgia’s association agreement with the EU, but says he wants to avoid a dispute about the issue. Shalva Tadumadze, parliamentary secretary of the government, said Friday

News, Politics

Mayor wins right to be reinstated weeks before end of term

by | May 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Constitutional Court on Friday revoked a decision to suspend Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava pending a corruption trial, and he now plans to go back to work only weeks before the local election. Tbilisi City Court suspended Ugulava

News, Politics

Continued speculation about who should sign Georgia’s EU treaty

by | May 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--When Georgia signs an association agreement with the European Union in late June, it will be Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili who will do the signing. This is despite it clearly being stated in the constitution that the president is the one who signs

News, Politics

Why did Georgia declare a ‘moratorium’ on ex-officials?

by | April 18, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--After the government Monday announced a 'moratorium' on prosecuting politicians, the National Movement criticizes it for misleading people by not fulfilling its promise. On Monday, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili in a statement called on

News, Politics

Georgia gets new region and infrastructure minister

by | April 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Elguja Khokrishvili was Monday appointed as Georgia's new minister for regional development and infrastructure. He will take over from Davit Narmania, who is stepping down in order to run for Tbilisi mayor in the local elections on June 15. Announcing

News, Politics

Opposition groups form coalition in Tbilisi

by | April 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A coalition of opposition parties not represented in parliament met on Friday to present their candidate for Tbilisi Mayor: former MP Dimitry Lortkipanidze. The coalition was created by Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement together with three

News, Politics

Poll shows Georgian Dream winning Tbilisi mayoral race

by | April 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a new poll, 52 percent of Tbilisians say they would vote for the Georgian Dream candidate for mayor if the local elections were held tomorrow. Four percent say they won’t vote for anyone, and 18 percent haven’t decided yet. Another source

News, Politics

Georgia without ambassador to the UK for more than a year

by | March 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has been without an ambassador to the UK for more than a year. In recent days, a candidate who is being considered for the post became a subject of dispute among politicians. During the process of so-called co-habitation between ex-president

News, Politics

What did Ivanishvili criticize the Georgian president for?

by | March 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili refrained from commenting on criticism from ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili beyond saying it is ‘painful’. In a TV interview, Ivanishvili said Margvelashvili revealed completely different features after the

News, Politics

Ivanishvili dissatisfied with president he recommended

by | March 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is dissatisfied with the president that he selected as candidate. Ivanishvili selected Giorgi Margvelashvili as the Georgian Dream coalition's candidate before the presidential election in October

News, Politics

Christian Democrats leader leaves amid coalition talks

by | March 16, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Movement, has left the party, after it began planning to form a coalition with Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement. Targamadze, a former TV journalist, said at a press

News, Politics

National Movement designates candidate for Tbilisi mayor

by | March 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, the out-of-power National Movement party has designated its candidate for Tbilisi mayor by direct appointment. Nika Melia, a relatively unknown former official in the capital, was directly appointed, as the party chose not to conducted a

News, Politics

Georgian opposition parties call ruling coalition undemocratic

by | March 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Political parties not represented in parliament accuse the government of making one-sided decisions in relation to the Election Code. The opposition parties accuse the governing Georgian Dream coalition of anti-democratic actions when it last week

News, Politics

Budget gridlock finally solved in Tbilisi

by | March 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Council decided to write the 2014 budget themselves, after refusing twice to pass drafts proposed by City Hall. The capital's executive government is staffed by people from Saakashvili's National Movement, but the city council is dominated

News, Politics

Georgia creates agency to oversee party financing

by | February 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is creating a temporary commission to monitor the financing of political parties. The new body will be staffed by people from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and will be based at the State Audit Office. Its general director, Lasha

News, Politics

Green Party leaves Georgian Dream coalition

by | February 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Member of Parliament Gia Gachechiladze on Wednesday left the parliamentary majority, the Georgian Dream coalition. Gachechiladze is a member of the Greens Party, which is not a member of the Georgian Dream coalition, but he represented the coalition

News, Politics

National Movement might boycott president’s address

by | February 19, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement party's members of parliament might not attend the Georgian president's state of the nation address, which takes place in parliament in Kutaisi on February 21. UNM members say they have not yet made a decision about whether

News, Politics

Georgian president to hold annual address on February 21

by | February 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili will hold his first annual address to parliament on February 21. Outlining the content of his speech already on Friday, Margvelashvili announced he wants to focus on values and Georgia’s ‘strategic vectors’;

News, Politics

Tbilisi’s 2014 budget rejected a second time

by | February 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The city of Tbilisi’s elected representatives have again failed to approve a new budget for 2014. 17 assembly members supported the new draft prepared by City Hall, 22 voted against. 24 votes were required for the budget to pass. December 29, the

News, Politics

City Council to review the capital’s budget on Feb 12

by | February 7, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Council will review the 2014 budget bill on February 12. The council failed to approve the budget on December 29, and for more than a month, Tbilisi has had no budget. City Hall has warned that it will cause extensive problems for

News, Politics

Margvelashvili promises different state of the nation address

by | February 2, 2014

TBILISI, DWatch--President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili will next week hold his first annual address to parliament. He says this year's speech will have a completely new format, compared to earlier. The constitution says the president must hold a speech to parliament once a year.

News, Politics

Margvelashili planning his first annual address to parliament

by | January 27, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili is in consultations with the speaker of parliament about the date of his annual address to parliament. The Georgian constitution says that the president must visit parliament once a year and present a report about

News, Politics

Ivanishvili starts non-governmental organization

by | January 24, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has founded a non-governmental organization called Citizen. Details are scarce, but it is known that Ivanishvili himself will head the new organization and that its goal will be to strengthen civil society in the country.

News, Politics

Georgian government members get performance-based bonuses

by | January 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Government ministers in Georgia are to be given bonuses according to their performance. Government officials receiving high bonuses was a controversial issue during the previous government. The problem is that under Georgian law, only the salary

News, Politics

Tbilisi’s TV tower goes dark due to budget gridlock

by | January 20, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi's most visible landmark, the Mtatsminda TV tower, has gone dark at night, because of the the city's failure to pass a budget for this year. City Hall decided to switch off the light show on the tower because of the City Council's

News, Politics

Tbilisi still without a budget, City Hall warns of problems

by | January 15, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Hall asks the City Council to solve the problem of approving the 2014 city budget. The Council failed to approve the budget on December 29, which means that City Hall is only allowed to spend up to one twelfth of the size of last year’s

News, Politics

Georgian government starts weekly meetings with its lawmakers

by | January 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia on Saturday held the first of what is to be weekly consultations with its coalition's lawmakers. Davit Saganelidze, Member of Parliament for the Georgian Dream coalition, said the point of the weekly Saturday meetings

News, Politics

Tbilisi City Council rejects 2014 budget

by | January 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A majority in Tbilisi City Council voted to reject the 2014 budget. The proposal received the support of only 18 council members, while 21 voted against. Three abstained. During the preceding debate, a majority of council members criticized how

News, Politics

National Movement reacts to mayor’s suspension

by | December 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement party went on the offensive on Sunday and demanded an investigation into claims that the Prosecutor's Office pressured two judges in a corruption case against Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava. Ugulava was Saturday night suspended from

News, Politics

National Movement party resumes work in parliament

by | December 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement party will resume work in the Georgian parliament on Monday after being absent since December 11. The party's delegates went on a boycott after a scuffle between one of their MPs and one from the Georgian Dream coalition, which

News, Politics

Georgia gets new governors in nine regions

by | December 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili on Friday appointed new governors in nine of the country's regions. The new governors are Irakli Shiolashvili, lawyer, in Kakheti, Zaza Meparishvili, engineer and lawyer, in Imereti, Zurab Rusishvili,

News, Politics

Georgia to spend more on health and education in 2014

by | December 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new Georgian government has presented a 9 billion lari (about USD 5 billion) budget for 2014 which prioritizes health care and education. The budget bill was approved by 86 votes against 0 at a plenary session on Wednesday. Members of the

News, Politics

Georgia increases the president’s salary

by | December 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has decided to raise the president's salary by 2 500 lari (USD 1 450). There has been talk about increasing the president’s pay for the last week and on Tuesday the governing Georgian Dream coalition asked parliament

News, Politics

Georgian gov’t presents 2014 budget, expects 5 % growth

by | November 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s budget for next year will be about 9 billion lari (USD 5.3 billion), Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri says. After the government session on Friday, Khaduri told journalists that a draft budget has been sent to parliament for further review

News, Politics

Georgian justice minister changes first deputy

by | November 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian justice minister has replaced her first deputy after the new government was approved by parliament. Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani explained on Monday that she has known Davit Jandieri since the time when he was her intern for three

News, Politics

Ivanishvili to announce his new plans in a few months

by | November 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he will announce his future plans in two or three months. Ivanishvili said this during the Georgian Dream party's congress on Sunday. He said he has to think before he decides how he will continue

News, Politics

Georgia’s new PM takes over helm of ‘Dream’ party

by | November 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili was Sunday elected as new leader of the Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia Party. Gharibashvili took over as leader after Bidzina Ivanishvili, who founded Georgian Dream two years ago. Delegates also voted for

News, Politics

Davit Narmania named candidate for Tbilisi mayor

by | November 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition has chosen Davit Narmania, Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development, as its candidate for mayor of Tbilisi. Narmania is thought to be one of the best ministers in the new government. The decision was made by

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