Elections, News

Ivanishvili confident ahead of election

by | September 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of the largest opposition coalition says there will be set a new precedent in Georgia’s recent history, when the government is changed through election. Bidzina Ivanishvili appeared confident in front media after meeting

Elections, News

Patriarch Ilia II hopes for a fair election

by | September 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian patriarch on Sunday stated that he expects Monday’s election to be without fraud and that people will vote for who they want. Numerous polls have shown Patriarch Illia II to be the most trusted person in Georgia, scoring higher than

NGO news

Backlash after prison abuse scandal: Study

by | September 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- After a series of videos were released September 19, documenting torture of prisoners, more than 40 activists were put in administrative detention, an old Soviet-style form of punishment. The finding is part of in a new study by three non-governmental

News

Russian soldiers arrest Georgian policeman

by | September 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Russian soldiers have arrested a Georgian police employee inside the occupied territory. Georgia considers this an attempt by Russia to create tension in the current situation. Russian media first reported that Georgian law enforcers Saturday

Elections, News

Opposition’s last mass rally ahead of important vote

by | September 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Dream coalition which is challenging President Saakashvili's power in Monday's parliamentary election, mobilized over a hundred thousand supporters in the center of Tbilisi Saturday. The coalition also held a rally in the country's

Opinion

Will there be civil confrontation?

by | September 29, 2012

Elections are won by media which feed people’s minds and create attitudes. For the first time since November 2003 Georgia has a strong opposition along with a strong ruling team, which makes the parliamentary elections of October 1 really competitive. But government-

In brief, News

111 organizations to observe Georgia election

by | September 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - 111 different organizations have been approved as election observers for the parliamentary election in Georgia on Monday October 1. 61 of them are from abroad, while 50 are local non-governmental organizations.

Elections, News

Georgian leader holds ‘most grandiose event ever’

by | September 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - The party currently in power in Georgia Friday organized a rally counting thousands at the national football stadium in Tbilisi. Majoritarian candidates and other members of the United National Movement party, as well as government officials, held

NGO news

Run-up to Georgia poll marred by violence

by | September 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) is concerned about the increase in violent incidents and arrests possibly on political grounds. After a prison abuse scandal shook Georgia last week, which led to society paying a lot of

In brief, News

NDI to hold election monitoring

by | September 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The U.S. National Democratic Institute will observe Georgia’s parliamentary election on October 1. According to NDI’s Georgia office, the observer mission contains seven persons, out of which are current and former members of the US Congress,

News

A third hunger strike launched in Georgia

by | September 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – According to Georgia's public defender, yet another hunger strike has been launched, this time at Prison No 19, for prisoners suffering of tuberculosis. About 30 prisoners in the prison went on hunger strike on September 25. Their demand is to

News

Ivanishvili’s guard missing, relatives say

by | September 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A former bodyguard for the Georgian opposition leader has been reported missing by his relatives, after a video was uploaded to Youtube yesterday, in which he says that Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili personally instructed him to make

Elections, News

Court rejects appeal against photo ban

by | September 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A court in Georgia has ruled that the Central Election Commission's decision to establish tight regulations for media on Election Day are legal. The rules in practice make it impossible to take photos and videos at election precincts. Under the current

Opinion

No more violence

by | September 28, 2012

As a representative of Switzerland I am looking forward to be allowed to observe democratic parliamentary elections in Georgia. Both countries, Georgia and Switzerland, are small, very dynamic, and extremely lovely countries. Both together should always and under any

News, Prisoner abuse

Second group of prisoners go on hunger strike

by | September 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Thirteen prisoners from one of Georgia's prisons went on hunger strike for five days until the election as way of showing their protest against torture and mistreatment of prisoners. Representatives of the public defender September 26 visited

News

PR, lies and videotape in Georgia

by | September 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – In Georgia a 'leak war' has broken out, fought by the uploading of compromising videos to Youtube and other sites, just days ahead of a decisive election. The government and the opposition are bombarding each other with alleged secret video and audio

News, Prisoner abuse

Interpol declares Georgia whistleblower wanted

by | September 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Interpol has declared Vladimer Bedukadze a wanted person. He is the former prison guard who recently released videos of prison torture filmed by himself at Gldani prison in Tbilisi in 2011. These videos spurred a massive public reaction which led to

News

Young lawyers say recent cases are political

by | September 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA) says the use of administrative detention recently has a political background. GYLA thinks 23 cases of administrative detention between 21. and 24. August are suspicios. The persons who have been

News

Bokeria says he wants lighter punishment

by | September 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council calls on law enforcement bodies to use lighter forms of punishment. Giga Bokeria, who is also chair of the inter-agency commission established by the government to monitor the election process,

News, Prisoner abuse

12 so far arrested for prison torture in Georgia

by | September 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s Prosecutor’s Office Wednesday reported that it had arrested the twelfth person so far for involvement in prison torture after a series of videos one week ago documented physical and sexual abuse by staff against inmates. Mamuka

News

Your “democracy” hurts, Mr President

by | September 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - «Your Democracy Hurts” -- this is one of the messages students have been sending to the government through their demonstrations all over the capital for the last week. The demonstrations against torture in the prisons continue. About eleven

News

One Laboratoria 1918 member released

by | September 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Youth continue to protest against prison abuse in Tbilisi. Thursday there was no large scale protest but different groups of students gathered at different places to express their protest to various government bodies. The seven people who were on

News

Christian democrat withdraws from election in protest

by | September 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - One of the leaders of the opposition Christian Democrats party today withdrew her candidacy as majoritarian candidate for parliament. Inga Grigolia, a well-known former journalist, is now a member of the Christian Democrats, which is considered by

Elections, News

CEC introduces de facto photo ban at precincts

by | September 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) has established many prohibitions on the use of photographic equipment at election precincts, which in fact restricts and makes it impossible to take photos on Election Day. Use of photos may document

News

Protests not abating in Georgia over prisoner abuse

by | September 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The wave of rallies and demonstrations against torture in the prison system shows no signs of abating in Georgia, as on Monday thousands of youth took to the streets to demonstrate. The organizers were several youth organizations, and people

News

Saakashvili calls abuse videos a conspiracy

by | September 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili dedicated a long speech to recent events in the prison system in a speech while meeting with locals in the port city Batumi. He said it was a shock for him, meaning the footage aired on TV, which shows beating

Opinion

Why my husband was arrested

by | September 24, 2012

Nina Khatiskatsi explains that her husband’s recent imprisonment, for arguing with a member of the District Election Commission, is symptomatic of the government’s increased use of police powers to intimidate Georgia’s opposition and the electorate. On the 20th of

In brief, News

Students on hunger strike over detainees

by | September 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Seven students have been on hunger strike for two days, protesting against the justice minister. They demand the release of activists Davit Patsasia, Dachi Tsaguria and Beka Alodashvili, who were arrested while participating in the recent protests

News

Opposition activists arrested as election draws near

by | September 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Many people have been detained in Georgia during the last few days. The majority of the arrested are members and activists of the Georgian Dream. About 20 members and supporters of the opposition coalition have been detained the last three days,

In brief, News

Public broadcaster’s board warns against bias

by | September 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Public Council of Georgia’s Public Broadcaster demands from GPB to cover news about prisoner abuse properly, otherwise they will leave their posts. Members of the council expressed concern for what has been exposed about torture of prisoners

News, Prisoner abuse

Call for Georgian leaders to be banned in the West

by | September 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Groups in Georgia demands that the former prison minister, former interior minister, current justice minister and current chief prosecutor are banned from civilized countries because of their cruel and inhuman treatment of citizens. The appeal

News, Prisoner abuse

Anti-abuse activists tell of being beaten

by | September 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s ombudsman says Dachi Tsaguria and Beka Aladoshvili, who were arrested on Saturday, were verbally and physically abused during pre-trial detention. Dachi Tsaguria and his friend Beka Alodashvili were arrested on Saturday. Tsaguria

News

Waiting outside, supporting those inside

by | September 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - “I bet daddy can see me here,” a boy of about 12 told her grandmother, both standing on a small hill in front of Prison No 8. It was evening and beginning to get dark. His grandmother was counting cell windows, as she knew the cell number where

News

Ivanishvili’s campaign surges after abuse scandal

by | September 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of the government’s main competitor in the election in just over a week says that he has plans to solve the conflicts of Georgia’s breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili says first, rail and road

In brief, News

Prisoners go on hunger strike over abuse

by | September 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Public Defender’s Office informs that several prisoners at facility No 15 in Mtskheta near Tbilisi have gone on hunger strike to show solidarity with victims of torture. According to the ombudsman's rapporteurs, prisoners went on hunger

News, Prisoner abuse

Prison guards who tortured have not been removed

by | September 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Prison employees who committed torture and humiliating abuse in a Tbilisi prison are still going to work as normal, inmates say. Prisoners at Gldani prison told this to journalists who were let in. They named the names of specific persons who have

News, Prisoner abuse

Looking for loved ones in the prison of shame

by | September 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Galina Nemsitsveridze waited outside the entrance hall of Gldani prison on Friday, like hundreds of other people trying to see their sons and husbands. Galina's son was suspected of sexually abusing his future wife together with two persons and put

In brief, News

Police beat and arrested demonstrators

by | September 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Saturday, a crowd of demonstrators tried to move in on a public service building in Tbilisi as President Mikheil Saakashvili was inside attending the opening ceremony. But police blocked the road and prevented people outraged over recent revelations

News, Prisoner abuse

Prisoner said he was beaten after shakeup

by | September 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The first new story of prisoner abuse has surfaced after President Saakashvili began a major shakeup of Georgia's prison system. The attempt at “resetting” the prison reform comes after a wave of criticism following several videos showing

News, Prisoner abuse

Students gather outside Gldani prison

by | September 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Student groups gathered outside of Gldani prison Friday, in a more scaled down protest against prisoner abuse than earlier in the week. Organizers decided not to hold a mass rally on Friday to avoid provocation.  They

News, Prisoner abuse

New minister visits prison of shame

by | September 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's new prison minister today visited Gldani prison accompanied by journalists. He said prisoners told him that the situation has changed to the positive the last two days. Nino Zuriashvili, investigative journalist, said they observed

News, Prisoner abuse

The broomstick revolution is coming

by | September 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Anger is not abating in Georgia, after the second minister leaves because of revelations of prisoner abuse. The largest crowd of demonstrators seen so far in this crisis swept through the central thoroughfare of Tbilisi Thursday evening,

News, Prisoner abuse

Another video shows abuse of psychiatric patients

by | September 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The sixth video clip showing prisoner abuse was aired Thursday by TV9. It seems to shows mentally ill persons who are inmates in Gldani prison and are being humiliated and forced to dance and sing. Gldani prison is where the majority of torture

News, Prisoner abuse

Georgia’s interior minister resigns over abuse scandal

by | September 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - After releasing the scandalous footage of prisoner abuse, Georgia's powerful interior minister, who is suspected to be behind these incidents, has been forced to leave his post. For three days people all over Georgia have been demanding that Bacho

News

Georgian elite dancers support opposition

by | September 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Five members of the Georgian president's favorite dance troupe, the National Ballet, say they support his main opponent. Georgian National Ballet – founded at the end of the Second World War -- is the country's most famous dance ensemble and its

News, Prisoner abuse

EU Statement on Georgia prisoner abuse

by | September 20, 2012

The European Union Wednesday issued a statement regarding the ongoing scandal surrounding prisoner abuse in Georgia: “The EU Delegation is shocked by the appalling footage of abuses committed against inmates in Gldani prison. It is of vital importance that these

News, Prisoner abuse

Saakashvili appoints ombudsman as prison minister

by | September 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili Thursday appointed the public defender as prison minister. Former prison minister Khatuna Kalmakhelidze resigned yesterday amidst a scandal spurred by the release of five videos showing prisoners being beaten

News, Prisoner abuse

Harassed for trying to leave the ruling party

by | September 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Members of the ruling National Movement party who have left the party as sign of a protest against prisoner abuse revealed by the release of several videos say the government is harasses them and their family member and trying to stop them from

News, Prisoner abuse

Prison guard tried to flee, others convicted

by | September 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Davit Akobia, former employee at Gldani prison -- also known as Prison No 8 -- was this morning arrested on the border with Armenia. He has been mentioned as one of the persons behind video footage showing torture of prisoner. The Prosecutor’s Office

News, Prisoner abuse

Crisis continues over prisoner abuse

by | September 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Wednesday morning Georgia’s prison minister resigned after scandalous footage of prisoners torture was published in the media and through the internet. Tens and hundreds of thousand have protested all over Georgia, demanding the resignation of the

News, Prisoner abuse

Underage prisoner sodomized by guards

by | September 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – In a new video clip of prisoner torture in Georgia, an underage prisoner is shown being sodomized by prison guards. The clip was aired today on the opposition channel TV9. It shows an underage prisoner (meaning under 18 years) being physically and

News, Prisoner abuse

Prisoner abuse in Georgia – Saakashvili’s ticking time bomb

by | September 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – For the last 24 hours, the whole of Georgia has been concerned about five videos released by different sources that show physical and sexual abuse of prisoners. People spontaneously took to the streets to show their disgust, and protests are still

News, Prisoner abuse

Saakashvili: ‘Georgia’s prison reforms a complete failure’

by | September 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian president admits that Georgia's prison system is a complete failure and needs to be repaired. Mikheil Saakashvili Wednesday instructed his prime minister to take responsibility for reforming the system and ensure the safety of

News, Prisoner abuse

Massive outcry over prisoner abuse videos

by | September 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A series of protest rallies have erupted throughout the capital and large cities in Georgia, after shocking videos of prisoner abuse released by the interior ministry and aired on two opposition TV channels last night. Some of the footage appeared

News, Prisoner abuse

Georgian “Abu Ghraib” causes public outrage in Tbilisi

by | September 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Four different videos showing physical and sexual abuse of prisoners in Georgian prisons has triggered a widespread public outrage and a demand for the prison minister to step down. The videos were released on Tuesday by the Ministry of Internal

Society

Georgian communications watchdog sabotaging must-carry

by | September 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A study concludes that Georgia's National Communications Commission is failing to cooperate effectively with society. The study was done by the must carry monitoring group, which estimates that out of the 3 621 256 voters in Georgia, over 200 000

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

Economy, News

Energy gets largest share of investment

by | September 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The energy sector receives the largest share of direct foreign investments this year. Investments increased 7 percent in the second quarter of 2012 compared to same period in 2011, and totaled USD 219 million, according to preliminary figures

News

Georgian woman speaks out about acting in anti-Islam film

by | September 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A Georgian actress who played in the anti-Islam movie ‘Innocence of Muslims’ has released an open letter explaining that she didn’t have any idea about the full plot of the film and only read part of the script. Anna Gurji (21), whose real

Elections, News

Emigrants return to Georgia to defend democracy

by | September 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian emigrants Monday returned to their homeland to protest the restriction of their right to vote. A number of Georgian emigrants today arrived in Batumi, a port city on the Black Sea coast, and held a protest rally in front of a public

Society

Rising ticket prices on Tbilisi’s public transport

by | September 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Salome (22) is a reporter for a Tbilisi-based online newspaper. Due to her job, she needs to visit different places in the capital at least five times a day. Her managers do not cover transportation fees for her, as the office is run on a tight budget

News

European foreign ministers anticipate important Georgia poll

by | September 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The foreign ministers of Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and the Czech Republic said during a visit to Georgia that the parliamentary election in two weeks are important. The ministers met with Georgia's foreign minister, and the main topic

Society

Students demonstrating for their rights

by | September 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A group of university students refuses to attend lectures when the new academic year begins 17 September. They claim that the quality of education is not on the level they expect, based on how much they pay. The student’s movement Laboratoria 1918

News

EU ambassador urges parties to trust observers

by | September 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The EU ambassador to Georgia on Saturday evaluated the election period in the country and once again remarked that it is important that participants recognize the election results if international organizations do so. Philip Dimitrov on Saturday

Interviews

Likely scenarios for the election aftermath

by | September 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia expert Lincoln Mitchell sees several possible outcomes of the election, and explained to us his assessment of the situation. DFWatch: Your prognosis, your predictions about these elections, its outcomes are interesting.Lincoln Mitchell: Well, we don't know for sure

News

Georgia to organize disaster exercise

by | September 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia is to conduct a consequence management field exercise together with Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) in September, 2012. Consequence management field exercise ‘Georgia 2012’ will be conducted in an area near

Society

Students demand fired professor reinstated

by | September 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Students at the state university in Tbilisi have launched a protest to demand that a lecturer who was fired for her political views gets back her position. Professor of philosophy and gender researcher Lela Gafrindashvili was teaching various

News

Georgia condemns embassy attacks

by | September 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia condemns the attacks on the embassies of Germany and UK. Georgia's Foerign Affairs Ministry on Saturday released a statement which says that the country is concerned about the incidents which took place in the capital of Sudan. “There is

In brief, News

Post-war observers in Georgia to stay another year

by | September 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - EU Monitoring Mission to Georgia (EUMM) will continue its activity for one more year until September 14, 2013. The European Council on Friday extended EUMM for one more year and €20.9 million was allocated in next year's budget. Catherine Ashton,

In brief, News

Russian election observers rejected by Georgia

by | September 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's Central Election Commission has rejected applications from two Russian organizations to register as observers for the parliamentary election on October 1. September 9, the CEC decided to deny the State Duma of the Russian Federation and

Elections, News

Ivanishvili denies rumours of Brussels meeting

by | September 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The largest opposition bloc in Georgia refuses to sign a code of conduct signed by other political parties, because signing it would force it to recognize the election results if the international community does so. Friday Georgian media reported that

NGO news

Transparency International criticizes seizing of dishes

by | September 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - According to a new survey, the confiscation of a Georgian TV company’s property was illegal. Transparency International Georgia (TIG) is behind the new study, called Analysis of the 'Pre-Election Process'. The report is based on a survey

News

The U.S. to bolster Georgia’s air defenses

by | September 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The United States is to send military advisors to Georgia to help the country strengthen its air defense systems. Obama is sending a group of military engineers to Georgia in September for this purpose. The bolstering of Georgia's air defenses

In brief, News

Slight modification in election arrangements

by | September 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's Central Election Commission says 54 963 Georgians abroad have registered to vote at their country's embassy. The list doesn't contain citizens who live in Russia or in countries where there are less than 20 Georgians living. 42 613 out of

In brief, News

Support for killed U.S. diplomats

by | September 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - NGOs gathered at the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi to show their sympathy with the victims of the attack on American diplomats in Libya. Members of Union of Human Rights Defenders brought flowers to the Embassy of USA and drew a U.S. flag by placing

In brief, News

NATO ambassadors in Georgia for election talks

by | September 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - NATO ambassadors are visiting Georgia, holding meetings with officials. The ambassadors have met with Public Defender Giorgi Tughushi, who said after the meeting that the guests were interested in the problems in Georgian media, including satellite

News

International support for extending must-carry

by | September 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – There is growing international support for extending the must-carry and must-offer system. The system makes cable network obligated to transmit all TV stations and all TV channels to let their signal be carried is being discussed these days by a

In brief, News

Estonian FM Paet urges respect for election result

by | September 13, 2012

TBILISI DFWatch – The Foreign Affairs Minister of Estonia says every political party in Georgia should recognize the results of the upcoming election as an expression of the will of the people. Urmas Paet, Estonia's minister is visiting Georgia to hold meetings with

News

Melia sums up democracy talks in Georgia

by | September 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas O. Melia, who on Wednesday completed his visit to Georgia, evaluated the situation in the country before the elections. A delegation chaired by him for two days held meetings with representatives of

News

Georgia wins against Netherlands

by | September 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's basketball team on Tuesday won against Netherlands. This was Georgia's final qualifier for EuroBasket 2013. The match ended 97-89. The team won all four quarters of the game: 25–21, 29–22, 18–16, 25–30. Georgia didn't have to win

News

Georgia lost 0-1 to Spain

by | September 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia on Tuesday lost a football match against Spain 0-1. The Jvarosnebi team managed to keep the score at 0-0 until the very last minutes of the match. Roberto Soldado of Spain brought his team one point in teh 86. minute. The Georgian team

News

Renewed call to extend must-carry

by | September 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Democracy groups in Georgia repeat their demand that the must-carry and must-offer principles must be extended beyond Election Day. Three campaigns consisting of NGOs and media presented a joint statement Wednesday. The three campaigns are:

News

Melia met Georgian opposition leaders

by | September 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas O. Melia and the rest of a government delegation from the United States are in Georgia holding meetings. The main topic is the parliamentary election on October 1. The delegation arrived on Sunday. It is

Elections, News

CoE election observers visit Georgia

by | September 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Representatives of the Council of Europe's observer mission will arrive in Georgia next week in order to get familiar with the situation before the upcoming parliamentary elections on October 1. Nino Kalandadze, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, said

News

Maestro gets back its satellite receivers

by | September 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The government in Georgia has agreed to distribute satellite dishes it confiscated from Maestro TV. The equipment will be distributed to the population by the Georgian Post. Maestro has not yet decided whether to accept the offer, but mediators

In brief, News

Foreign ministers swarming to Georgia

by | September 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The foreign affair ministers of five countries will visit Georgia September 17. Nino Kalandadze, Georgia's Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, said on Monday that the foreign ministers of Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Latvia and Lithuania will

News

Christian Democrats fined USD 3 000

by | September 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Court has fined the Christian Democrats Movement with USD 3 000 for violating law about political unions of citizens. The Christian Democrats Movement, who is currently represented in parliament, June 31 held a meeting with the

Economy, News

Ivanishvili sells off his last asset in Russia

by | September 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's richest says he has sold his last assets in Russia. A US fund purchases Stolenskaya Niva for USD 180 million. Russian media informs that Unikor Company, which manages Bidzina Ivanishvili's assets, has finished the sale of Russian assets.

News

Saakashvili’s campaign goes into high gear

by | September 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The two largest political blocs in Georgia in the weekend showed off their support in the regions. United National Movement, the ruling party, Saturday held eleven rallies in ten towns as well as in Tbilisi. The first gathering started at 11:00 in

News

Georgian voters abroad get more time to register

by | September 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The Central Election Commission (CEC) has given Georgians abroad two more days to register as a voter. The deadline for registering is September 11. But Eka Azarashvili, speaker for CEC said, said at a press conference Monday that Georgians

In brief, News

Georgia has a new business ombudsman

by | September 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili has appointed a new business ombudsman. Maya Meredova has worked at ProCredit Bank Georgia since 2006. She was General Director of Bank of Georgia 2010-2012. Meredova was a consultant at the European Bank of

News

Tbilisi treaty, part 2 – 35 years later

by | September 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - In Tbilisi on Friday, representatives of 103 countries adopted an agreement on environmental protection education. The treaty outlines what both countries and international organizations can do. It is a continuation of a treaty also signed in

News

Saakashvili’s party winning the war for ad spaces

by | September 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – In most cities in Georgia, almost all billboards, minibuses and buses are covered by commercials for the National Movement party. Other parties lack the money for such commercials, besides, the ruling party has already booked all available ad

News

Georgia through to EuroBasket 2013

by | September 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s basketball team Jvarosnebi are through to EuroBasket 2013 after winning 73-70 against Latvia. The match was played on Saturday evening in Latvia. After the victory, Georgia might end up winning its group in the qualifying rounds, but is

News

Campaigners ask for extension of must-carry

by | September 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A democracy campaign in Georgia asks the government to extend the validity of the must-carry and must-offer principles and lift the seizure of satellite dishes belonging to Maestro TV. This Affects You Too, an umbrella organization of Tbilisi-based

In brief, News

One insurgent arrested near Russia-Georgia border

by | September 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - The interior ministry in Georgia Saturday arrested one of the so-called saboteurs near the Dagestan section of the border with Russia. According to a short statement published on Saturday, Akhmet Chatayev, Russian citizen from the North Caucasus was

In brief, News

U.S. government officials visit Georgia

by | September 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The United States is sending a government delegation to Georgia to assess the period before the election on October 1. The delegation will visit Georgia September 10-12 and is chaired by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Thomas O. Melia, from

News

NDI surveyed public attitudes in Georgia

by | September 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - 63 percent of Georgians approve of the appointment of the former interior minister as prime minister; 47 percent think the upcoming election will be more or less well-conducted, while 62 percent will not support the opposition if it decides to begin

Interviews

NDI’s Luis Navarro on the latest poll

by | September 8, 2012

What are the main differences which occurred for the last survey compared to the last two surveys conducted by NDI?Most notable change since our last poll is that people's attitudes about Georgian democracy improved. So what we have seen over time is that people's

NGO news

Young lawyers: Government websites misused

by | September 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) says the websites of local governments are being used to help the party in power, United National Movement (UNM). According to GYLA, the fact that these web sites publish information about UNM's

News

EU to open its borders to Georgians

by | September 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The European Union will offer Georgian citizens visa free travel to the EU in 2013, according to Georgia's representative to the EU. Salome Samadashvili, who represents Georgia in the EU, said Wednesday that 2013 will be a very important year for

News

Saakashvili widens gap to main competitor: NDI poll

by | September 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new survey gives the ruling National Movement party a comfortable lead ahead of the parliamentary election on October 1. The survey shows in August, 37 percent of Georgians would vote for the National Movement, while only 12 percent

News

NATO chief reaffirms Georgia membership pledge

by | September 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - NATO's Secretary General on Friday left Georgia for Azerbaijan, continuing his tour of the Caucasus. In a posting on Facebook Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that his traveling in the South Caucasus region is important for Euro-Atlantic security and

News

U.S. senators visit Georgia to talk democracy

by | September 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A group of U.S. Senators headed by John McCain have arrived in Georgia. Among the delegation are also Joseph Liberman and Lindsey Graham. During a press conference at the U.S. embassy McCain said the delegation wants to see a free and fair election

Elections, News

Opposition claims government wants to falsify election

by | September 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The opposition Georgian Dream party accuses government of attempting to legally falsify the parliamentary election. One of the coalition's lawyers Zakaria Kutsnashvili said Thursday that the amended election code regulates the issue of voters

Elections, News

Groups demand to change election date for emigrants

by | September 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Democracy groups demand that the date of the parliamentary is brought forward for Georgians living abroad. The election is scheduled for October 1, but the groups it brought forward to September 29 or 30. The groups say in an application to the Central Election

In brief, News

New U.S. Ambassador to Georgia takes over

by | September 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The new U.S. ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland Wednesday officially started his work. He arrived at Tbilisi airport with his wife, where they were greeted by Chargé d'Affaires Bridget Brink and representatives of the embassy. Norland said he

NGO news

ISFED finds that violations are on the rise

by | September 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new survey shows that there has been a worrying trend in the election campaign in Georgia with a growing number of violations. International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) presented their fifth monitoring report. ISFED studied

News

Georgia meets Bosnia-Herzegovina again

by | September 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s basketball team is meeting Bosnia-Herzegovina again team tomorrow. Georgia comes to its seventh qualifier for EuroBasket 2013 after winning against Romania on Sunday with the final score 91:74. Georgia will host Bosnia-Herzegovina at

News

Georgia’s defense minister visits Afghanistan

by | September 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s Defense Minister and Chief of Staff met with ISAF Commander of Regional Command Southwest Major General and Commander of Task Force RC (SW) Major General to receive information about the mission. According to Georgia’s Defense Ministry

News

Another rebel buried in Pankisi Valley

by | September 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Another so-called saboteur was buried today in a Georgian village, locals say. Seven corpses have been identified out of eleven liquidated saboteurs, according to the interior ministry. Two of them were Georgian citizens and were buried earlier in the village Duisi

News

Ashton and Füle on EU-Georgia relations

by | September 4, 2012

Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, and Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, made today the following statement: "We wish

Elections, News

NDI report highlights bias in application of law

by | September 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - The seizing of the bank accounts of an opposition figure and his partner, a former AC Milan player, has strengthened the perception of a selective and disproportionate application of the law, according to a new report by National Democratic Institute.

In brief, News

Fogh Rasmussen visits Georgia September 6

by | September 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – NATO’s Secretary General will come to Georgia on September 6 and hold official meetings for one day. Manana Manjgaladze, Spokesperson for president told DF Watch that Anders Fogh Rasmussen arrives in Georgia as part of a tour of the Caucasus.

News

Two Georgians among dead Caucasus rebels

by | September 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The interior ministry says there were two Georgian citizens among the eleven who were killed during a police operation on the Russian-Georgian border. A few days ago, the ministry claimed that there weren’t any Georgians among the dead 'boeviks'.

News

Saakashvili to open new port in empty city

by | September 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili announced that in September there will be opened a City Hall and a port in the still non-existent city Lazika. Saakashvili was meeting with youth at the patriot camp in Anaklia, a town on the Black Sea coast.

Elections, News

Georgian opposition hit by yet another fine

by | September 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The largest opposition coalition in Georgia may be fined again, after the State Audit Office has said certain individuals implemented financial operations in the name of Georgian Dream, which is prohibited by law. A statement by the State Audit

Elections, News

Activists of the ruling party are distributing products to citizens

by | September 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - People dressed in National Movement t-shirts are handing out gifts to people Telavi, a town in eastern Georgia. They give them 10 kg of flour, 5 kg of pasta, a bottle of oil and 2 pieces of washing powder. According to the Informational Center of

News

The National Movement presents its party list

by | September 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - In the top twenty on the National Movement's party list there are majoritarian candidates. The majority on the list are current members of parliament (MPs) and members of government. On the ruling party list there also are so-called independent

News

Georgia’s environment minister resigns

by | September 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia's environment minister has resigned in order to stand for election for the National Movement party. George Khachidze, who was appointed to the post in 2008, today announced on his Facebook page that he has resigned in order to become a member

News

Anti-‘saboteur’ operation continues in Georgia

by | September 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Local police are patrolling a valley close to the Russian border, while the special police operation continues against a group of what the interior ministry calls saboteurs. The interior ministry today published further details

News

Gov’t rejects opposition’s election benchmark

by | September 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The government refuses to accept conditions which the largest opposition coalition says are necessary in order for the October 1 parliamentary election to be considered fair. Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of the Georgian Dream coalition on Thursday

Opinion

In Memoriam of Greg Guroff

by | September 1, 2012

For those of us that retain their curiosity, willingness to fail and to learn, age is measured not in years but in lost friends. I lost a good friend – Greg Guroff. He died of an incurable disease but he fought strong for his life as he did in energetic and rich life – as a diplomat,

News

Former AC Milan player may become parliament speaker

by | September 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The opposition in Georgia considers to make the former AC Milan player Kakhi Kaladze speaker of parliament if they win the election on October 1. Georgian Dream has nominated the footballer on first place on its party list, which might mean that

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