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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili: I will not run the country from behind the scenes

by | November 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--At the end of his two year run as a politician, former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has published an open letter that rebuts speculations about his future plans. In the letter, titled ‘Postscript’, Ivanishvili writes that he only wants to answer one

News, Politics

New Georgian government approved by parliament

by | November 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili has signed a document which appoints former interior minister Irakli Gharibsahvili as prime minister. The new president also has been asked to sign a document by which parliament declares its trust in the new

News, Politics

Gharibashvili names new Georgian government

by | November 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian prime minister in waiting Irakli Gharibashvili on Monday named his new cabinet. It lists the same people as before the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili, with the exception of Gharibashvili's post as interior minister which will be

News, Politics

New Georgian government to face parliament on Wednesday

by | November 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--With the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili as president on Sunday, the government is now suspended, but continues as an acting government until parliament has confirmed a new government that will be presented by the president. Parliament will

News, Politics

Saakashvili says goodbye, plans to stay out of politics

by | November 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili says he will ‘temporarily’ leave politics and may go on to work within science. In an open letter posted on Facebook on Friday, Saakashvili explained why he will not attend the inauguration of Giorgi

News, Politics

Saakashvili not to attend inauguration of new president

by | November 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili and other top people in the National Movement party will not attend the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili as new president on Sunday. In a statement, the UNM says their people have acted in line with 'civil standards'

News, Politics

New Georgian interior minister appointed

by | November 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police Colonel Alexandre Chikaidze will replace Irakli Gharibashvili and become new Georgian Interior Minister. Chikaidze was presented by Prime Minister Gharibashvili on Saturday. The 28 year-old Chikaidze graduated from Tbilisi State

News, Politics

President’s reserve fund cut to half

by | November 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The president’s reserve fund will be cut from USD 30 million to 15 million for next year. Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said Wednesday that two months before the end of the year, the president's reserve fund is empty. He said the president spent

News, Politics

Khatuna Samnidze elected new Republican Party leader

by | November 4, 2013

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

News, Politics

Gharibashvili to decide who will replace him as interior minister

by | November 3, 2013

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

News, Politics

New Georgian prime minister to be announced today

by | November 2, 2013

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

News, Politics

Davitashvili leaves politics, but remains MP

by | October 30, 2013

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

News, Politics

Naming of new Georgian PM postponed until Saturday

by | October 28, 2013

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili to name successor next week

by | October 25, 2013

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,

News, Politics

Opposition politician to sue Ivanishvili for USD 600 mill

by | October 18, 2013

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili confident ahead of presidential election

by | October 17, 2013

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

News, Politics

Security Council secretary to resign if Ivanishvili bloc wins presidency

by | October 17, 2013

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili to name successor first week of November

by | October 15, 2013

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

News, Politics

Soon leaving, Ivanishvili looks ahead to the next twenty years

by | October 5, 2013

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili has decided on who will be his successor

by | September 26, 2013

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

News, Politics

Georgia’s lawmakers consider taking a break to campaign

by | September 16, 2013

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

News, Politics

Still unknown who will be Georgia’s next prime minister

by | September 5, 2013

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili explains reasons for leaving Georgian politics

by | September 3, 2013

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

News, Politics

Georgian government impatient with delayed ambassadors issue

by | September 2, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili wants to promote wine industry after end of term

by | August 21, 2013

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,

News, Politics

Tbilisi budget expanded by 4%

by | August 20, 2013

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

News, Politics

Georgia’s CEC head goes into politics, may run for president

by | August 16, 2013

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.

News, Politics

Economy minister and UNM candidate cancel meeting

by | August 15, 2013

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

News, Politics

Georgian government says economy is not in crisis

by | August 8, 2013

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

News, Politics

Locals in Bolnisi demand the resignation of municipality head

by | August 6, 2013

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

News, Politics

Parliament in Georgia starts to review constitutional amendments

by | August 5, 2013

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili bloc in parliament loses one member

by | August 2, 2013

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili denies rumor that Rice offered him to be advisor

by | July 26, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili loses majority in Tbilisi

by | July 20, 2013

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,

News, Politics

Russian Duma members in Tbilisi — how unusual is it?

by | July 10, 2013

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

News, Politics

Constitutional amendments going through public review

by | July 8, 2013

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

News, Politics

Government to form constitutional commission and stop court cases

by | July 7, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili loses one more Tbilisi council member

by | July 4, 2013

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili might leave, but might also stay as PM

by | July 3, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s party loses majority in Tbilisi City Council

by | July 1, 2013

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,

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s party suspends work in parliament, again

by | June 28, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili again exercises his veto powers

by | June 26, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s party to hold primary while gen secretary is in jail

by | June 18, 2013

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,

News, Politics

Georgia’s Ivanishvili slams the Washington Post for editorial

by | June 5, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s travels: Whose fault is the bad coordination?

by | May 21, 2013

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

News, Politics

Controversial head of party finance watchdog resigns

by | May 9, 2013

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.

News, Politics

Uncertainty over Saakashvili’s annual address to parliament

by | May 1, 2013

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.

News, Politics

Ivanishvili will soon announce his candidate for president

by | April 28, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili criticizes Ivanishvili for admitting Georgia made mistakes

by | April 24, 2013

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili: Georgia needs support in dialogue with Russia

by | April 23, 2013

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

Elections '12-'13, News, Politics

Ivanishvili bloc leading ahead of Georgian presidential election

by | April 22, 2013

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

News, Politics

State health insurance becomes a reality for Georgians

by | February 28, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili invites Ivanishvili to meeting

by | February 27, 2013

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,

News, Politics

Ivanishvili agrees to give former officials amnesty

by | February 26, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s party rallies to support Tbilisi mayor

by | February 24, 2013

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

Elections '12-'13, News, Politics

Saakashvili plans to stay in politics

by | February 23, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili demands to hold address to parliament

by | February 22, 2013

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili allies lose another seat in capital

by | February 20, 2013

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.

News, Politics

Ivanishvili government gets rid of tuition fees

by | December 30, 2012

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

News, Politics

Revised 2013 budget presented

by | December 9, 2012

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

News, Politics

Failing revenues forces major shifts in budget

by | December 7, 2012

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

News, Politics

Why Ivanishvili cut 93% of Security Council’s funding

by | November 20, 2012

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

News, Politics

2013 budget to focus on the social dimension

by | November 15, 2012

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

News, Politics

Mayor’s surprise visit at government may be investigated

by | November 10, 2012

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

News, Politics

Independents formally recognized as faction

by | November 2, 2012

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

News, Politics

National Movement Party claims harrassment by Georgian Dream

by | November 1, 2012

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

News, Politics

National Movement party loses six MPs

by | October 30, 2012

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.

News, Politics

Adjaran Council meets for the first time after the election

by | October 28, 2012

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,

News, Politics

Ivanishvili can not say when pensions will be increased

by | October 24, 2012

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili vows to leave in 2014

by | October 24, 2012

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

News, Politics

New minister explained allegedly racist comments

by | October 24, 2012

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s power to block constitutional change reduced

by | October 22, 2012

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

News, Politics

The new parliament sets up 15 committees

by | October 22, 2012

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

News, Politics

Refugee minister candidate criticized for ‘racist’ statements

by | October 22, 2012

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili completes his list of government ministers

by | October 16, 2012

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s party to split up into factions in parliament

by | October 15, 2012

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

News, Politics

EU ambassador optimistic about Georgia’s future

by | October 15, 2012

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

News, Politics

New government’s goal: multiparty democracy

by | October 15, 2012

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

News, Politics

Close Saakashvili ally met Ivanishvili

by | October 13, 2012

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

News, Politics

Georgia’s ruling party starting to disintegrate

by | October 13, 2012

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

News, Politics

Other officials named as handover gets nearer

by | October 9, 2012

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

News, Politics

Consultations about power transfer continue

by | October 8, 2012

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

News, Politics

Ivanishivili promises to work with business

by | October 6, 2012

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

News, Politics

Negotiations between Saakashvili’s and Ivanishvili’s people

by | October 5, 2012

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

News, Politics

Clinton calls Ivanishvili and Saakashvili

by | October 5, 2012

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili’s outgoing government selects negotiators

by | October 5, 2012

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,

News, Politics

Satellite dishes will not be distributed after all

by | September 19, 2012

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

News, Politics

Audit body brings up more cases related to ruling party

by | August 29, 2012

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili may hold referendum about parliamentary republic

by | August 28, 2012

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

News, Politics

Former AC Milan player Kaladze denied to book Tbilisi stadium

by | August 25, 2012

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

News, Politics

Georgian government responds to criticism

by | August 24, 2012

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

News, Politics

Claims procedures against opposition parties delayed

by | August 23, 2012

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

News, Politics

Government claims opposition is trying to discredit authorities

by | August 23, 2012

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili reaching out to Georgian youth

by | August 22, 2012

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili announces his candidacy for prime minister

by | August 21, 2012

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

News, Politics

Saakashvili says his PM will continue after October 1

by | August 21, 2012

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.

News, Politics

Georgia’s opposition bloc has exceeded its fundraising limit

by | August 20, 2012

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvhili and Kaladze lost their appeal

by | August 15, 2012

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

News, Politics

Ivanishvili hit by new USD 12 mill fine

by | August 12, 2012

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,

News, Politics

Former AC Milan player Kakhi Kaladze fined USD 10 million

by | August 11, 2012

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

News, Politics

Seizure continues against staff of Ivanishvili linked bank

by | August 10, 2012

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

News, Politics

Audit office wants to know opposition leader’s spending

by | August 9, 2012

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

News, Politics

Takeover of Ivanishvili company runs its course

by | August 8, 2012

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.

News, Politics

Speaker of Parliament is abusing his position

by | August 7, 2012

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.

News, Politics

Ivanishvili linked property sold at an auction

by | August 6, 2012

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

News, Politics, World

USA: democratic transfer of power is needed

by | October 21, 2011

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 ...

Media, News, Politics

Georgian media answers hopeful patron

by | October 12, 2011

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 ...

News, Politics

Georgia bars billionaire from entering politics

by | October 12, 2011

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 ...

News, Politics

Grassroots movement welcomes financier’s entry into politics

by | October 9, 2011

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, ...

News, Politics

Georgia’s richest to launch opposition movement

by | October 8, 2011

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 ...

Elections, Europe, Legal reform, News, Politics

Political Tbilisi skeptical to proposed new election system

by | October 3, 2011

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 ...

News, Politics

Workers forced to renounce rights

by | September 27, 2011

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 ...

Elections, Legal reform, News, Politics

Government introduces surprise changes in new election law

by | September 23, 2011

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 ...

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