TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party, which is member of the Georgian Dream coalition, Sunday elected a new leader at a party congress. The party elected Khatuna Samnidze as new leader. She has been a party member since 2005 and has served as organizational
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's new prime minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, will select his own replacement as interior minister. It was earlier thought that outgoing Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili would decide who will take over as Interior Minister. Ivanishvili explained that now
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will today name his successor. The Georgian Dream political council will first discuss this issue after which Prime Minister will present the candidate to the parliament majority. Ivanishvili will meet with Georgian
TBILISI, DFWatch--Koba Davitashvili, a member of parliament from the Georgian Dream coalition and leader of the People’s Party, says he is leaving politics because of a lack of support. Davitashvili says he realized after the recent presidential election that he
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has again postponed the naming of his successor, saying it needs to be discussed in the Georgian Dream political council first. Ivanishvili said Monday at a press conference that he hopes the candidate for new prime
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he will name his successor on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the economy minister and one of the possible candidates, is now excluded from the list, going by what the PM said,
TBILISI, DFWatch--The leader of Christian Democrats plans to sue against Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili for defamation and will demand one billion lari (USD 600 million) in compensation. Ivanishvili Thursday met with newspapers editors to talk about the upcoming
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili appeared full of confidence while meeting newspaper editors Thursday, vowing that his coalition, Georgian Dream, is going to win the presidential election. Ivanishvili said he is sure that there won't be a need
TBILISI, DFWatch--Giga Bokeria, Secretary of the Security Council, says he will leave the post if Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili wins the presidential election. Margvelashvili on Wednesday told journalists that in case of a Georgian Dream victory
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian PM Bidzina Ivanishvili promises to name his successor in the first week of November, after the presidential election. In an interview with Channel 1 on Monday, he said that people will know who the candidate for new prime minister is in
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Ivanishvili claims he has fulfilled all the plans he had for the first two to three years after going into politics, and now moves on to the next stage: plans for the next 20 years. Ivanishvili said this during a campaign stop Friday
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he has already selected a candidate for his successor, which will be the most powerful person in Georgia. Ivanishvili said Wednesday he has made a choice between three candidates, but defers
TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Georgia is considering suspending work in October before the presidential election on October 27. Zviad Kvachantiradze, MP from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, on Saturday told journalists that the parliamentary majority agreed
TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite the great public interest, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili refrains from naming his replacement as he steps down in the near future. Georgia's next head of government will benefit from a constitutional change which invests the prime minister with
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili seems to be sticking to his word and really plans to leave politics after two years in the game. On Monday, he issued another open letter explaining the reasons for his leaving. But again, he left the main
TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, the government is growing impatient as President Saakashvili has delayed for nine months the confirmation of seven new ambassadors. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said Saakashvili has not fulfilled his promise, but National Movement
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili plans to open an education center for viticulture, wine-making and vine care in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region, where he owns a house and vineyards. Speaking in front of journalists at his palace in Tbilisi Wednesday,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A majority of Tbilisi City Council has voted for expanding the city budget by 17 million lari (USD 10.2 million) to 740 million lari (USD 445 million) -- a four percent increase. Mayor Gigi Ugulava from the former ruling National Movement party
TBILISI, DFWatch--Zurab Kharatishvili, head of the Central Election Commission in Georgia, on Thursday explained that he resigned in order to go into politics and may even run for president. On Monday, Kharatishvili applied to parliament for permission to leave as CEC head.
TBILISI, DFWatch--A planned meeting between two top people in the main political blocs in Georgia has been scuttled by a disparaging remark by one of the sides. Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili from the Georgian Dream coalition, and Davit Bakradze, the National
TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has answered its critics who say that the economy is in crisis, assuring them that all commitments and plans will be fulfilled and that the economy is in no danger. Georgian Dream coalition MPs on Wednesday met with the
TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals of Bolnisi, a town in southern Georgia, demand the resignation of the acting head of the local government, the gamgebeli, because they believe he is not fulfilling any of his duties. People in Bolnisi, in the Kvemo Kartli region, claim that
TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Georgia is starting to review a set of amendments to the constitution that aim to balance powers between the prime minister and the parliament, after a draft has been through a process of public discussion. The hearing process
TBILISI, DFWatch--Koba Davitashvili, leader of the People’s Party, one of the Georgian Dream coalition partners, on Friday said he is leaving the coalition to run for president. Davitashvili said the reason for his leaving is a systematic disagreement with Prime Minister
TBILISI, DFWatch--Tedo Japaridze, who chairs the foreign affairs committee in parliament, denies rumors that former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be appointed as official advisor to the Georgian prime minister. A few days ago, the Russian newspaper
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Saakashvili’s National Movement party has lost its majority in Tbilisi City Council. Members of Georgian Dream coalition, and former members of the National Movement who switched sides after the parliamentary election in 2012,
TBILISI, DFWatch--A duel of words has broken out in Tbilisi after members of the Russian Duma turned up at a football match between Dinamo Tbilisi and Dinamo Moscow. The friendship match on July 7 is the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union that the two
TBILISI, DFWatch--The public review process of the amendments aimed at reducing the power of the prime minister that he will assume after the presidential elections scheduled for October 27 commenced this week, bringing together MPs, politicians, civil society
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and the leader of the parliamentary minority, Davit Bakradze, have agreed to create a commission to work on changing the constitution. In return, members of United National Movement won’t be interrogated
TBILISI, DFWatch--One more member of the United National Movement, the party headed by President Mikheil Saakashvili, on Thursday left the party's faction in Tbilisi City Council. This time it was Davit Tsereteli, chair of the commission on urban planning, who
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he can be ‘useful’ for society for twenty more years. The comment came on Wednesday at a routine press conference about current events in the country. Ivanishvili was asked about a recent statement he made
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement has lost its majority in Tbilisi City Council after one of its members on Monday decided to leave the UNM faction. UNM used to have 24 seats in the Council and this way remained in majority,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement has again suspended work in parliament, due to the recent detentions of the Tbilisi City Hall and Council officials. Levan Bezhashvili, member of the UNM, on Friday said that their decision
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has vetoed the amendment of three more laws in a package passed by parliament. This time it was about the law on broadcasting, the election code and the law about the public defender. The president's spokesperson
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party is still planning to hold primary elections to select a candidate for the presidential election, even though party secretary Vano Merabishvili is in detention. The names of the participants have not been revealed,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili claims the Washington Post is drawing conclusions based on information from President Mikheil Saakashvili’s lobbyists. The newly elected head of government demands an answer as to how the newspaper gets
TBILISI, DFWatch--The foreign ministry and the president's administration in Georgia are embroiled in a quarrel over who is to blame for the bad coordination of foreign visits. The ministry accuses the president's administration of not coordinating visits abroad
TBILISI, DFWatch--Natia Mogeladze, head of the Financial Monitoring Service for political parties, resigned on Wednesday. According to the State Audit Office, a body subordinate to the Financial Monitoring Service, it was Mogeladze's own decision to resign.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament is ready to listen to the president’s annual address to the nation, but the president may not show up. Pavle Kublashvili from President Saakashvili’s United National Movement party says that the annual address has not been scheduled.
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will announce his political bloc's candidate for president in one or two weeks. Mr Ivanishvili said this during an appearance on a talk show on Rustavi 2 Friday. The presidential election is scheduled for
TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili has criticized Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili for remarks he made regarding two breakaway regions in a speech in Strasbourg Tuesday. Mr Ivanishvili, who was speaking at a session of the Parliamentary
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says the fact that there is a dialogue between Tbilisi and Moscow shouldn’t create the impression that the country doesn’t need support from its partners anymore. He said this in a speech at a session
TBILISI, DFWatch--If public attitudes stay the same until fall, the Georgian Dream coalition's candidate will win the presidential election clearly, without the need for a second round. 58 percent of Georgians say they would like to see the Georgian Dream candidate
TBILISI, DFWatch--A new health insurance program became available to Georgians from Thursday. The program is open for citizens from the age of 6 to 60 who have not had health insurance before. Health insurance for every Georgian citizen was a part of the Georgian
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili says he wants to sit down with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili to talk about how to solve a gridlocked power-sharing process. “I think we should talk with the government about many issues, like relations with Russia,
TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says his Georgian Dream coalition will agree to a demand put forth by President Mikheil Saakashvili's National Movement and offer former government officials amnesty. The head of government writes in an open letter
TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava was charged with money laundering and embezzlement of the city's money, but not detained. Politicians from the United National Movement party of President Mikheil Saakashvili on Friday hastily left parliament Kutaisi
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili, who will leave office in October, says that he doesn’t plan to leave politics, because this would mean running away from the battlefield and letting everything which he has built be ruined. Saakashvili has served
TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili demands that parliament allows him to use his constitutional right to address the nation from parliament. Thursday, the Georgian leader sent an open letter to MPs calling on them to follow the constitution, which obliges
TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement (UNM) has lost one more member of Tbilisi City Council, but still has a majority of seats. Nikoloz Khachirashvili on Tuesday said he is leaving the UNM faction, but will remain an independent and not join any other faction.
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new government has decided to cancel tuition fees for many popular studies. Bachelor students in 14 fields of specialization at state universities will have their tuition fees cut to zero from 2013. The free subjects will be agronomy, education sciences, energy
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new government in Georgia has presented a 2013 budget of USD 5.3 billion. USD 4.4 billion of this is expenditure. The revised budget comes as a result of consultations after critical remarks by members of parliament, and the new
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The revenues into Georgia’s state accounts have decreased by USD 50.5 million lari compared to the budget. For this reason, priorities will be shifted until next year. According to the 2012 budget, revenues should have been USD 5 billion
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Security Council, which is a body subordinate to the president, cannot prove what it has spent USD 13.8 million on. This is why new the government cut its financing by the same amount in next year's draft budget. Georgia’s 2013 draft
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s new government has now detailed what its priorities are by presenting a budget for next year of 7.34 billion lari, or USD 4.42 billion, which is USD 335 million more than this year’s budget. According to the 2013 budget bill, the
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The prosecutor’s office is considering to investigate the mayor of Tbilisi who feels offended that he wasn’t allowed to attend the government session on Friday, even though he didn’t have a right to attend. Georgia’s finance minister Friday
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Six parliamentarians who left the former governing party of President Mikheil Saakashvili are officially recognized as a faction of independents. The National Movement Party's vote weight in the assembly thus fell from 65 to 59. But the ruling
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The former ruling party accuses the new government of blackmailing and harassment, while the new government officials ask them to present evidence. The claims were described at a briefing in the National Movement party's
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Another National Movement MP has left the parliamentary minority to become independent members of parliament. A group of six independent MPs plan to set up a parliamentary faction. Six is the minimum number required to establish such a unit.
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara on Sunday held its first session, with all 21 members attending. As a result of the parliamentary election on October 1, the Georgian Dream coalition received 57.6 percent of votes in Adjara,
The future Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Wednesday visited parliament to meet with the minority and answer their critical questions about the future plans and goals of the government and the government's plan. Most of the questions were about the time
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Bidzina Ivanishvivli, leader of the Georgian Dream coalition and future Prime Minister, says he will leave politics in a year and a half but continue to lead his coalition after that as a member of civil society. The coalition leader on Wednesday
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are voicing their opposition to a candidate for refugee minister in the new government. Prime Minister candidate Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is leader of the election winner Georgian Dream, earlier
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Five members of parliament (MPs) who were elected as representing the National Movement party declined to join their party in the parliamentary minority on Sunday. This means that there will be less obstacles for the Bidzina Ivanishvili-led
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s eighth parliamentary assembly has three factions from the majority and three from the minority. 15 parliamentary committees were established. The Georgian Dream coalition, which is the new parliament majority, on Sunday set up three
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Groups in Georgia ask the new government to reconsider its candidate for refugee minister, after criticism for making racist statements. A week ago Bidzina Ivanishvili presented his list of names for the future government. One of them was Davit
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Dream on Tuesday named the rest of its candidates for new government ministers. Bidzina Ivanishivli, Georgian Dream coalition leader, said the Ministry of Economy will be given certain new functions because of upcoming reforms. New economy
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The National Movement party, which is now in opposition in Georgia, plans to set up several parliamentary factions in the future parliament. Davit Bakradze, current Parliament Speaker said Monday that all his party's representatives in parliament
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The EU ambassador to Georgia thinks the ongoing process of transfer of power is another test for Georgia, which will be successfully passed. Georgia's National Platform, the largest union of local non-government organizations (NGOs) with support from
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new governing coalition will have as goal to establish a real multiparty system in Georgia, Georgian Dream candidate for Parliament Speaker promises. Davit Usupashvili says it should not be surprising that in the new parliament their coalition might be
TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili promises Bidzina Ivanishvili to help in keeping the new government safe and to retain the direction of Georgia’s foreign policy. This was made clear by Giga Bokeria, Secretary of Georgia's National Security Council, after
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Five members of the United National Movement party in Tbilisi City Council left their faction and set up a new faction, which will join the platform of the parliament election winner Georgian Dream. The faction had 38 members before it lost the five
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian Dream coalition leader and likely prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili today named his candidates for government ministers and other top positions. Head of Georgia's National Bank will be Nodar Javakhishvili, chair of Cartu Bank, a bank affiliated
TBILISI, DFWatch -- Negotiators for the government and Georgian Dream Monday held another round of consultations regarding the ongoing process to transfer power. Participants said afterwards that Monday evening consultations will start between current ministers and Georgian
TBILISI, DFWatch -- About 200 local and foreign businesspeople Friday gathered to meet with the winner of the parliamentary election in Georgia. Bidzina Ivanishvili met them in order to talk about important issues and problems in their field, including the necessity of
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The winner of the aryparliament election, Georgian Dream, will from October 8 send representatives to each state body to start a 'peaceful transfer of government' until a new government is formed. This was one of the major decisions made at a meeting between
TBILISI, DFWatch -- US Secretary of State has had a phone conversation with President Mikheil Saakashvili and Bidzina Ivanishvili, who leads a coalition that won the parliamentary election. Both the president's and the Georgian Dream's press offices separately told
TBILISI, DFWatch -- The government of President Mikheil Saakashvili has picked the Parliament Speaker, Tbilisi Mayor, Secretary of the Security Council and a member of parliament to represent it in negotiations with the Georgian Dream coalition. Soon after Election Day,
TBILISI, DFWatch - Negotiations a TV company and the government about installing satellite receivers have failed. The director of Maestro TV claims the government's offer to negotiate about the distribution of the equipment was just a ruse, and that it never planned
TBILISI, DFWatch – The audit body in Georgia, which for several months has been busy fining the largest opposition bloc, now wants to fine five persons for donating to the ruling party. In contrast to the opposition related cases, the identity of the people in
TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of the largest opposition bloc in Georgia doesn’t exclude that if he wins the parliamentary election he will hold a referendum regarding government structure. Currently, the president holds almost all power. From 2013 these powers will
TBILISI, DFWatch - Former AC Milan player who left football to go into politics was planning to hold a friendship match with Milan in Georgia as a symbol of him leaving, but Georgia refused to make a stadium available for the match. Kakhi Kaladze, who now is a partner
TBILISI, DFWatch – The government in Georgia claims the OSCE's Parliamentary Assembly is spreading incorrect information provided by lobbyists of a certain party. A delegation from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) on Thursday released a statement
TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s National Enforcement Bureau postponed the enforcement of fines that have been issued to political parties which are members of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition. June 27, seven political subjects in the coalition were were fined
TBILISI, DFWatch – The government in Georgia accuses the opposition bloc Georgian Dream of attempting to discredit government bodies. Two officials in the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly expressed concern about the seizing of bank accounts of parties
TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili says the ruling party will have several 21 year-old candidates on their list for the upcoming parliament elections. Saakashvili today met students who have a summer job in the small Black Sea coastal town
TBILISI, DFWatch – Opposition businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is challenging Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia's October 1 parliamentary election, has announced himself as candidate for prime minister. The announcement comes one day after Saakashvili's National
TBILISI, DFWatch – The government in Georgia has placed the speaker of parliament on the top of its party list, which probably means he will keep his post if they win. It also said the current prime minister is their prime minister candidate after the election.
TBILISI, DFWatch – The largest opposition coalition in Georgia will no longer be allowed to receive donations from persons who partly or fully receive financing from its leader Bidzina Ivanishvili or companies related to him. The State Audit Office informs that
TBILISI, DFWatch – The Appeals Court in Tbilisi rejected an appeal by the leader of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition and a former AC Milan player. This means that the decision by Tbilisi City Court to fine them stands. Bidzina Ivanishvili was fined USD 12.3
TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Court once more issued a fine to Saakashvili’s main competitor Bidzina Ivanishvi. The case was brought by the State Audit Office, which accused the businessman of illegally donating to his own party and fined him 20 243 827 lari,
TBILISI, DFWatch – A well-known football player who left his career to join the opposition Georgian Dream coalition was on Friday fined 17 million lari for not doing as he was told by the State Audit Office. Kakhi Kaladze’s property was also seized, but he doesn’t
TBILISI, DFWatch – The bank accounts of the director and seven employees of Cartu Bank were seized today. The bank is known as being connected to the opposition Georgian Dream bloc. Nodar Javakhishvili today told journalists that the seizure has connection to a
TBILISI, DFWatch – The financial monitoring service of Georgia's state audit office accuses Bidzina Ivanishvili and his partner, a former professional football player, of withdrawing money from their own accounts, and calls on both of them to return the money to
TBILISI, DFWatch – A lawyer for a company affiliated with the largest opposition bloc in Georgia has been sentenced to twenty days administrative detention for resisting police. His lawyers say Tbilisi City Court's decision was illegal and are going to appeal.
TBILISI, DFWatch – Now that the date of Georgia's parliamentary elections has been set to October 1, political parties are under certain restrictions set by law, that last until Election Day. One restriction is that it is prohibited to use administrative resources for campaigning.
TBILISI, DFWatch – A company connected to the largest opposition bloc in Georgia has had its property sold at a public auction. Meanwhile, the National Enforcement Bureau is replacing the company's management. Burji Ltd, which has links to billionaire Bidzina
TBILISI, DFWatch - America will be expecting to see a democratic transition of power in Georgia in the presidential election in 2013, Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said during a press briefing here in Tbilisi yesterday. Reactions have varied from the opposition seizing on the use of the phrase "transition of power" as a signal for regime change, to the government saying Burns doesn't mean that the ruling National Movement Party won’t remain in government. The briefing took place while Burns paid a working visit to Georgia and he has held meetings with both government officials and opposition politicians as well as representatives of the media. The meetings are said to have centered around the country’s internal and foreign policy and made it clear that the US remains a partner of Georgia. US will do its best to protect democratic institutions via the US-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission and other existing contacts, William Burns said. “We will do all we can to support Georgia’s emerging democratic institutions for development of a vibrant civil society, of free and independent media, of the rule of law based ...
Journalists Wednesday responded to the wealthiest Georgian Bidzina Ivanishvili's call for them to form an alliance to unseat Mikheil Saakashvili, while experts debated whether Georgia had the right to revoke his citizenship. Tuesday night, the tycoon-turned-politicians had the support of at least the viewers, if not the staff, of two small cable TV stations which have become central to one of the world's richest men's attempt at removing Mikheil Saakashvili from power. On the channel Kavkazia, 91% of viewers voted that the decision to revoke Ivanishvili's citizenship was unlawful. Alsmost exactly the same percentage voted similarly on an almost identical question on the sister cable channel Maestro. But the administration and staff at the two independent TV stations are measured in their responses to the entices from the tycoon to form an alliance, in order to return Georgia to its people. "Maestro's cooperation with Ivanishvili, Mikheil Saakashvili, Putin, and Obama and with everyone is real: who will finance us? Maestro is grateful for all money that isn't acquired illegally, we are ready to cooperate," Mamuka Glonti, co-owner of Maestro, told the Georgian online newspaper ...
The authorities in Georgia have stripped the country's richest man of his citizenship, just as he was preparing to launch a new opposition movement aimed at unseating president Mikheil Saakashvili in elections the coming two years. Revoking Bidzina Ivanishvili's citizenship effectively means that he can't legally take part in political activities nor fund political parties, nor run in elections in the country. The ramifications of this are yet to be seen. The decision came in the form of a letter from the Civil Registry which terminates Ivanishvili's Georgian citizenship. Lawyers DFWatch has spoken to do not see any legal inaccuracies in the statement but say the businessman can appeal to the president and there are no legal grounds for rejecting such a request. Meanwhile, the government has started talking about Ivanishvili's connections with Russia. "If [a presidential] decree exists, it should be published; on the other hand, without such a decree the citizenship cannot be terminated. So we can assume that Ivanishvili’s citizenship is not terminated” --Kahka Kojoridze, Georgian Young Lawyer's Association The essence of the Civil Registry's letter is that he had already been ...
After being rejected by the journalists of Maestro TV, financier Bidzina Ivanishvili's has found new allies in the anti-Saakashvili grassroots movement behind last May's demonstrations. The People's Assembly in a statement says Ivanishvili represents a fresh, new start to Georgian politics, and that his program fully matches the goals of the assembly. People's Assembly is a movement spearheaded by chess champion Nona Gaprindashvili, and was the organizing factor behind Georgia's attempt at reproducing the Arab uprisings. The protests peaked in May with the deadly police action in front of parliament which took four lives and scores of injured. Nearly fifty people are imprisoned, some serving sentences of up to 12 years, after participating in the protests. The clashes made yet a dent in president Saakashvili's democratic credentials. Human Rights Watch and other groups have pointed out a number of transgressions by Georgian servicemen during the crack-down, justified by the president out of a need to send a signal to the Kremlin because the demonstrators in his opinion were infiltrated by agents working for Russian military intelligence. "According to our view, Ivanishvili represents a new, ...
The financier Bidzina Ivanishvili is satisfied so far with the impact he has had, after announcing he would challenge the ruling party in the next election by founding a new party and buying a TV station. According to his press secratary, Irakli Tripolsky, Ivanishvili’s first statement "caused deep resonance in the society". Next step will be another statement to be published on October 12. ‘Bidzina Ivanishvili will release one more address to the Georgian society on 12 October. The address will clearly define his attitude to various political actors, media outlets and political institutions’, Tripolsky said. Two days later Ivanishvili is willing to go on Georgia's public broadcaster to answer journalists’s questions. Irakli Tripolsky used to be chairman of the board of trustees at the public broadcaster, but left in 2008, saying he didn't want to be held hostage to the ruling party. But the chairman of the broadcaster told Interpressnews he wasn't informed that the financier wants to come on their channel. Total control The Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili Friday launched a new political party by puiblishing a statement strongly attacking President Mikheil Saakashvili. Free business no longer ...
Work to improve the Georgian election environment has ended as a draft has been sent off to the Council of Europe's Venice Commission for review and the government promises that parliament will not start its review until the results of the review are clear. It's hard to say what the Venice Commission's conclusions will be and how well the government has anticipated its remarks. Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have already criticized the amendments to the draft law. In their view, this project does not include many substantive changes to improve the election environment. On the contrary, some sections make the situation even worse than it is today; or the vagueness of some regulations make it impossible to understand the different formulations. Last year when talks began to change the election law, it was said that reforms were needed in several areas: More transparency in the election itself, the monitoring process, changes regarding the handling og voters's lists, the election system, use of administrative resources, election financing, election administration, election disputes and sanctions for violations of the election law. The draft sent to the ...
Support is mounting for the three imprisoned metallurgy workers in Kutaisi. According to their labor union, they have been forced to sign a statement promising to never again go on strike. The appearant violation of their basic human rights had brought nearly thirty non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to Kutaisi Monday to show support for the three, who work at the city's metallurgical plant. "Today’s protest is a show of solidarity with people who didn’t even have any political demands," said Aslan Lortkipanidze, chairman of The Union of Independent Experts, an Adjarian NGO. "They are in jail just because they fought for their labor rights." "This misconduct must be immediately investigated and certain individuals punished" -- Tamar Chugoshvili, Georgian Young Lawyer's Association Kutaisi is Georgia's second largest city, 200 km west of the capital, Tbilisi. Workers at the plant have been pressuring to improve their conditions since summer, but on 15 September their strike was forcefully broken up by police. Three days later, three of the striking workers were arrested and sentenced to ten days in prison. Supporters massed in the city on Monday to demand an ...
After reaching a hard-fought agreement with several opposition parties, the ruling party has introduced significant changes in the draft for a new Georgian Election Code. According to lawmakers, the eleventh-hour changes were only made in order to ensure a democratic election environment in the country, however many opposition parties remain skeptical. Some of the changes in the draft were made due to recommendations tabled last year by the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal and constitutional affairs. The latest draft is already sent to the Commission for another round of review. Work to reform the election process began in October 2010 with talks between a coalition of opposition parties and the ruling National Movement party, but in the end, the ruling party managed to strike an agreement only with two out of eight opposition groups. "There is no point in discussing things in an editorial group if the government continues with such surprises" -- Levan Vepkhvadze, Christian Democrat party The agreement envisages nine basic changes which will come into force in time for the parliamentary elections in 2012. Eight of them were ...