News

Former governing party demands to chair inquest board

by | October 31, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The current parliamentary minority, which is made up of a party that governed Georgia for the last eight years, demand to have the position as chair of parliament’s temporary investigative commission. The minority introduced a draft law in

News

Caucasus Online’s former owner tells of surveillance

by | October 31, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The former owner of a telecommunication company claims that the company was under serious pressure, because he refused to install listening devices. Caucasus Online is one of the biggest telecommunication companies in Georgia. Its former owner,

Opinion

Do we have an opposition in today’s parliament?

by | October 31, 2012

If we look at the current parliament through the eyes of an outside observer, then the question in the headline will become completely rhetorical. An outside observer will say that in the current parliament, there is Georgian Dream as majority, and the minority is

Media, News

TV Sakartvelo becomes TV Tabula

by | October 31, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian TV viewers will get a new channel in the near future, to be produced by the owners of the magazine Tabula. The new channel will be focused on news and will probably go on air in January 2013. The editor of the new channel will be Tabula

News

More than 700 prisoners to be released by late November

by | October 31, 2012

Tbilisi, DF Watch - Georgia’s new prison minister says the law about amnesty may come into force before November 23, and may apply to more than 700 prisoners, but he avoided specifying exactly how many prisoners may be released. Sozar Subari, Georgia’s

News

Refugees claim empty buildings after election

by | October 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Refugees in Georgia started to settle in abandoned buildings in the capital ever since the first results of parliamentary election became known. They hope the new government will grant them living quarters, which they claim they deserve. Among

News

Two thousand Georgians caught up in disaster

by | October 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There are more than 2 000 Georgian citizens living in the disaster zone created by a massive storm in the US, according to the Georgian consulate in New York City. The massive storm called Sandy slammed into the eastern United States Monday night

News, Prisoner abuse

Juvenile prisoners in Georgia are suffering, says group

by | October 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Psychologists say juvenile prisoners are serving time under very bad conditions in Georgia. Georgian Centre for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT) found out that juvenile prisoners were tortured last year. Head

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

First day at work for Ivanishvili team

by | October 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's new government on Monday started working. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili Monday arrived at the government building in Tbilisi for the government's first normal work day. The government session started 15:00. Ivanishvili held separate

News

Georgia moves parliament back to the capital

by | October 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The government in Georgia says it will move parliament back to the capital Tbilisi. October 21, parliamentarians met for their first regular session in Kutaisi, after President Mikheil Saakashvili as recently as 2011 decided to build an

News

Adjara gets a new leader

by | October 29, 2012

The new leader of the Adjara region in southwestern Georgia is Archil Khabadze, former Adjara regional director of Cartu Bank, which is affiliated with the new prime minister. Three candidates were considered for the post: Jemal Putkaradze, member of the Supreme

News

300 ill prisoners will be released soon

by | October 29, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Up to 300 prisoners will be released before serving their term, Georgia’s new Prison Minister orders. Sozar Subari, former Public Defender who recently was appointed as Prison Minister, on Sunday visited prison hospital No 18. After seeing

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,

Economy, News

Government considers planned new city Lazika

by | October 28, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new government has still not decided whether to implement Saakashvili’s idea of building a completely new city Lazika in Georgia. The new government have different ideas about the plan to build a city with half a million people on the Black

News

New defense minister discovered major deficit

by | October 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s new defense minister says he will take immediate measures to bring the ministry out of a crisis after he discovered that it has a USD 68 million deficit. Defense Minister Irakli Alasania Friday visited the ministry and said that his new

Media, News

Calls to remove chair of public broadcaster

by | October 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The audit agency in Georgia wants the chair of the Public Broadcaster to be changed, while groups demand reforms in GPB to return it to people and free broadcaster from government control. Online newspaper Ambebi.ge conducted a

News

Borjomi strike ended

by | October 27, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Production has been restored at Georgia's famous mineral water plant Bojomi, after several day strike has finished. There are two plants in Borjomi, which is located in the southern Georgia's resort town with the same name. Employees of the company

Economy, News

Georgia continues to increase its foreign trade

by | October 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- New nine month figures from 2012 show a 16 percent increase in foreign trade turnover compared to last year, equal to USD 7 595 million in total. The numbers do not include informal trade. According to Georgia’s National Statistics Department

Media, News

PIK’s fate still uncertain

by | October 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- It is still unknown what will happen to a Russian language TV channel based in Georgia. PIK TV is one of the channels run by the Georgian Public Broadcaster. Since October 12, PIK has been had reduced programming, broadcasting old material

News

Case of Georgian PM’s death to be reopened

by | October 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The day after a new government was approved by parliament in Georgia, it is already clear that the case of one of the most controversial deaths in the country's history will be reopened. The brother of the late Georgian Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania was recently

News

Trash fee will be reduced

by | October 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Tbilisi City Council has solved the issue of trash collection fee, which is calculated based on how much electricity a household consumes. On Thursday, the council decided to reduce the trash tariff to half for five months from November till May.

News

Intelligence service to be split from interior ministry

by | October 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says the intelligence service will be separated from the interior ministry and be set up as an independent state agency. “This service will have as function to find secret information, analyze,

Economy, News

Confusion over Georgia’s state financial assets

by | October 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The outgoing and new government disagree over the size of the state coffers. Former government members claim that there is more than two billion lari, nearly USD 1.2 billion, in the state coffers. But new Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri says there

News

Georgian MP implicated in fomenting unrest in Russia

by | October 26, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new parliamentary majority plans to study the case of Givi Targamadze. He is a member of the National Movement party who according to Russian media has been helping the opposition in Russia to organize revolution. A few days ago, Russian media

News

New Georgian government approved

by | October 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's eighth parliament has declared trust in the new government by 88 votes against 54. There are 150 seats in the parliament. Georgian Dream is in majority with 85 seats, the rest og seats belong to the National Movement, the former ruling

News

Update on the worker unrest in Georgia

by | October 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The famous Georgian mineral water plant Borjomi is still paralyzed by strike, as railway workers and dockers are also warning of protest action. Workers at Georgian Railway yesterday warned that they would stop the trains for a couple of hours,

NGO news

Ruling expands the right to privacy

by | October 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A lawyers group’s has won a lawsuit against the Georgian parliament. Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) protested the law about operative investigations, which gave power to observe and participate in open and closed internet

News

New ombudsman may be chosen today

by | October 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Thursday parliament will approve the new government presented by the Georgian Dream coalition. Parliament might also approve the new public defender, whose candidacy has been subject to discussion since the election result first became known.

News

Administrative detention to be ended

by | October 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The new government in Georgia wants to do away with administrative detention. This is a form of incarceration left over from the Soviet Union which allows authorities to put away citizens as a preventive measure without going through normal court procedures, and has

News

Georgia may release ten thousand prisoners in mass amnesty

by | October 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s new government plans to give thousands of prisoner amnesty, but has not yet specific what categories of prisoners will be released. The most recent figures, from July 1, 2012, show that there were 23 406 prisoners in Georgia at the

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

More workers join wave of strikes in Georgia

by | October 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The results of the recent parliamentary election encouraged workers all over Georgia to protest against their harsh conditions and demand improvements. Next to join in are the workers at a plant in Borjomi processing the well-known mineral water

News

New government will reconsider Afghanistan mission

by | October 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia may reconsider the size of its contingent in Afghanistan after 2014. Candidate for new foreign minister Maia Panjikidze does not exclude that the new government will make changes to Georgia's participation in the NATO-led ISAF operation

News

Russia debate in new Georgian parliament

by | October 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There have been sharp exchanges between the majority and minority just three days after the new parliament started a new season. The candidate for foreign minister today visited the parliamentary committees on euro integration and foreign affairs.

In brief, News

EU continues negotiations with Georgia

by | October 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Negotiations are continuing Tuesday between Georgia and the EU about an association agreement. This is the eleventh session, and the talks are talking place at the government office. Currently Georgia is negotiating with the EU on three separate

News

Workers rebellion spreading across Georgia

by | October 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The worker protests are continuing in Georgia after the election. After a week they can note a slight progress. It is more than five days since workers at the energy company Telasi went on strike asking to bring back about 125 employees who were

In brief, News

Saakashvili presents Ivanishvili’s new government

by | October 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday officially presented the new government list to parliament together with a new government program entitled 'For a Strong, Democratic and United Georgia'. In accordance with procedures, there will be

News

Saakashvili’s people fleeing Georgia

by | October 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Several powerful ministers in the Saakashvili government have not been seen in the country since the first results of the parliament election became known. Dimitry Sashkin, who lately served as defense minister, today posted an appeal on his

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

Opinion

Neither Saakashvili nor Ivanishvili is what the West believes

by | October 22, 2012

For many in the West, Mikheil Saakashvili remains the poster child of the Rose Revolution, an uncompromising promoter of democracy and defender of his country against Russia, and the incoming Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is viewed as a shadowy and authoritarian

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

In brief, News

New government ready

by | October 22, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The candidate for prime minister in Georgia has presented his list of government ministers to the president. The Georgian Dream coalition won the right to form government after its victory in the parliamentary election. President Mikheil

News

Demonstrations as parliament begins new season

by | October 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Groups of youth demonstrated today in front of the new parliament building where the eighth Georgian parliament assembly began its 2012-2013 season on Sunday. A number of students and youth came to Kutaisi joined by local students to protest

News

Usupashvili elected Parliament Speaker

by | October 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - The eighth Georgian parliament Sunday elected Republican Party leader Davit Usupashvili as speaker of parliament by 88 votes for, none against and 62 abstaining. Usupashvili represents the Georgian Dream coalition. Georgian Dream has 85 seats

News

Two-party parliament starts working

by | October 21, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Parliamentarians in Georgia are gathering today in Kutaisi for their first session after the October 1 election. Their first session is taking place inside a new dome-shaped construction which though it's still unfinished and leaks water from the ceiling when it rains,

Media, News

PIK journalists out of a job

by | October 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s Public Broadcaster has abolished its contract with the Russian language TV station PIK, which has been off the air since October 19. PIK, or First Informational Caucasian, was a channel belonging to Georgia’s Public Broadcaster. It

News

Georgia parliament gathering in Kutaisi Sunday

by | October 20, 2012

Georgia’s Central Election commission Friday approved the protocol of the October 1, 2012, parliamentary election. The first session of the new parliament will be held on Sunday. Recently, the constitution was changed, so parliament sessions can only be held in Kutaisi

In brief, News

Results show Georgian Dream short of two third majority

by | October 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC) has approved the final results of the October 1 parliamentary election. According to the summary protocol, the Georgian Dream coalition received 54.97 percent, while United National Movement

News

Workers protests spreading in Georgia

by | October 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Shortly after the preliminary results of the parliamentary election became known, workers all over th ecountry started demanding to improve their slave-like conditions. As 3 800 workers are still on strike in the mining town Chiatura, employees of

Media, News

NGO coalition asks for action on media independence

by | October 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Civic groups in Georgia Friday presented an eight-point plan for how to improve the media environment in the country. Coalition for Media Advocacy, which unites twelve non-government organizations (NGOs), considers it important to make

News

Saakashvili strengthens his personal security

by | October 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian president is strengthening the security around himself and his family. Mikheil Saakashvili has issued a decree according to which the Special State Protection Service will be given additional functions to protect the president and his family.

News

NATO committed to Georgia, says Appathurai

by | October 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO will remain absolutely committed to Georgia, a NATO envoy said after meeting the future prime minister of Georgia. James Appathurai, who is on a visit to Georgia, on Thursday held a meeting with Bidzina Ivanishvili, congratulating him on his

Society

‘Food, not bombs’ event held in Tbilisi

by | October 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A group of volunteer youth in Tbilisi decided to organize a charity event in the city internationally known as Food Not Bombs. Food which cannot be sold is gathered from grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries and markets, and is handed out to people

News

Saakashvili’s jet makes emergency landing

by | October 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A business jet carrying President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, had to make an emergency landing at Bucharest airport Thursday night, the president's administration informs. Saakashvili was returning home after attending a conference, but ten minutes after

News

Ivanishvili plans to visit Europe

by | October 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- After meeting with Stefan Fule, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy on Thursday, Bidzina Ivanishvili talked about his planned visit to Europe. “We had a very interesting conversation,” he said, adding that this

News

Miners’ strike spreading to other groups of workers

by | October 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- New groups of workers have joined the miners on strike in Chiatura, and activists from Tbilisi have arrived to support them. All mines in Chiatura are still closed down as the miners' strike continues for a fourth day. October 16 thousands of workers

In brief, News

NATO envoy says Tbilisi has passed the test

by | October 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- NATO envoy James Appathurai yesterday evening arrived in Georgia for a working visit to meet with former and future government members. The October 1 parliamentary was a test for Georgia, which it has passed. The government has changed through the

Media, News

Another pro-Saakashvili channel sold: This time it’s Real

by | October 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Another pro-government television station has been sold in the wake of the parliamentary election in Georgia: Real TV. Real TV, which was a competitor to Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV, and contained pro-government news, shortly after election

NGO news

TI report: Media in Georgia will remain polarized

by | October 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Transparency International Georgia (TIG) predicts that the television environment will stay polarized. Less than two weeks have passed since the election, and the political changes have already started to have an effect on the television environment.

NGO news

Hidden political ads in Georgian election campaign

by | October 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- During the election campaign in Georgia there were hidden political advertisements on TV. This is the result of a study by the Human Rights Center in Tbilisi. The group have studied advertising clips and found examples of hidden commercials on TV

Media, News

Confusion about what will happen to Imedi TV

by | October 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A government-controlled TV channel is in the process of be transferred back to the family of its old owner, the deceased businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili. The return of Imedi TV to its fonder's family has become the hottest topic on social networks

News

Saakashvili asks Ivanishvili to form a government

by | October 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili Tuesday presented Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgian Dream coalition leader, as a candidate for Prime Minister. Manana Manjgaladze, spokesperson for the president, said at today’s briefing that in accordance with the Georgian

News

Rubin highlights media’s role in Georgia election

by | October 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Eric Rubin, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, evaluated the recent parliamentary election in Georgia on his visit to Tbilisi on Tuesday. He said the whole world can see that democracy is real in Georgia, which can become a model country for

News

Saakashvili: My party failed to listen to people

by | October 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Mikheil Saakashvili Tuesday admitted his National Movement party had done too much talking instead of listening to people's problems. The president was meeting with his party's candidates for Adjara’s High Council. He said that during the election

Opinion

The challenge for democracy in Georgia

by | October 17, 2012

On October 1, Georgia successfully concluded its first constitutional transfer of power through internationally monitored free and fair elections. President Saakashvili graciously accepted his governing party’s defeat and has worked constructively with Bidzina Ivanishvili,

News

3500 miners on strike in Georgia

by | October 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Thousands of miners are on strike in western Georgia, demanding to improve work conditions and have a normal salary. About 3500 workers from six mines in Chiatura, which is rich in manganese, went on strike on Monday. All the mines are closed down

Media, News

Saakashvili regime gives up control over Imedi TV

by | October 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The director of a government-controlled TV channel and a key figure after the rose revolution has left his position. Control over Imedi TV was Tuesday evening handed over to the family of the deceased businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili, who owned

Media, News

PIK journalists protest with silent news

by | October 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Journalists of TV channel PIK Monday evening expressed protest in an unusual way: When viewers tuned in to their news program at 22:20, they could watch the journalists live – in complete silence. PIK, or First News Caucasian, belongs to Georgian

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

Saakashvili offers Ivanishvili Georgian citizenship

by | October 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili today offered Georgian citizenship to the future prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. October 2011, the former businessman wrote in an open letter that he was planning to go into politics and change the government through

Media, News

Tax amnesty to benefit pro-government TV

by | October 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The government is offering TV stations exemption from paying outstanding tax debts. This will mostly benefit two pro-government TV stations. Acting Finance Minister Alexandre Khetaguri said Monday that broadcasters will be allowed to pay reduced fees

News

Call for debate between ombudsman candidates

by | October 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Young Lawyer's Association wants a debate between prospective candidates for new ombudsman. The young lawyers think such a debate should be organized by the Georgian public broadcaster so society can get familiar with their views and what

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

Education, News

Education system anticipating new leadership

by | October 15, 2012

Changes are expected in the education system after the new government comes to power. The national exam system may return to its previous arrangement, although nothing is yet decided, while the identity of the new minister of education is still unknown. Entrants were

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Repeat elections give Georgian Dream the upper hand

by | October 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There were repeat elections at eleven precincts in three regions of Georgia on Sunday. According to the Central Election Commission (CEC), voter turnout at the time voting ended was 32.9 percent. The repeat election was conducted peacefully without

In brief, News

Several earthquakes in Georgia and Azerbaijan

by | October 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck near the Georgia-Azerbaijan border at about 14:15 on Sunday. The epicenter was 10 km east of Lagodekhi, Georgia, and 10 km in depth. The seismic monitoring center of Ilia University in Georgia

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Repeat elections in Georgia due to serious fraud

by | October 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Eleven precincts in three districts in Georgia are holding repeat elections Sunday, because of grave irregularities which led to results of the October 1 parliamentary election being canceled. All eleven are what's called majoritarian or first-past-the-post

News

Saakashvili creates escape option for his associates

by | October 13, 2012

Georgian officials will, if they are fired, be able to use their diplomatic passports for one more year. This means that they will be able to cross borders without any problems, which is not possible for ordinary citizen. President Mikheil Saakashvili made this decision by issuing

News

Georgia in draw against Finland in FIFA 2014 qualifier

by | October 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia played 1-1 against Finland Friday in the third qualifier for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The match was played in Helsinki. When the first half ended there were no goals, but in the 11. minute of the second half, the Georgian team scored. Finland

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

Audit service committed many violations

by | October 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A new survey shows that the State Audit Office committed many violations during the last year. Representatives of Coalition For Freedom of Choice and an independent expert group have studied the work of the State Audit Office's activities and presented

News

Garbage fee system is still under review

by | October 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Many in Tbilisi had hoped that city hall would do away with an unpopular new system to make the garbage collection fee dependent on the electric bill, but at Friday’s session it emerged that despite the opposition's election victory it is not certain

News

Rasmussen spoke to Saakashvili and Ivanishivili

by | October 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili today had a phone conversation with NATO's Secretary General, who told the president that today is a historical moment for Georgia’s democratic development. Mikheil Saakashvili and Anders Fogh

In brief, News

Georgian soldier dies in Afghanistan

by | October 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Corporal Mindia Abashidze was the eighteenth Georgian soldier to die while serving in the NATO-led ISAF operation in Afghanistan. Georgia’s defense ministry on Thursday reported that the corporal born October 27, 1989,

News

The government formally resigns

by | October 12, 2012

The current Georgian government has resigned but will continue carrying out its duties until a new government is approved by parliament. The president's administration informed about the resignation in a short statement on its official website, which says that

NGO news

Tamar Gurchiani named as candidate for public defender

by | October 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Young Lawyer's Association (GYLA) and other non-governmental organizations have  proposed to the parliament that Tamar Gurchiani should be the new public defender. “We, the members of non-governmental organizations,

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

More elections in Georgia following violations

by | October 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Several election districts in Georgia will have to vote again on October 14 because the results of the October 1 parliamentary election were annulled due to violations, according to the Central Election Commission (CEC). The commission decided on Wednesday

News

Deprived business owners eyeing a return to Georgia

by | October 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Following the opposition victory in last week's parliamentary election, people who have been deprived of their companies in recent years are now saying they want to get back what was taken from them during the rule of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

News

Dockers in Poti are on strike

by | October 11, 2012

About 200 employees of the port of Poti are on strike, local media report. The workers refuse to carry on until the people making decisions at No 14 harbor speaks to them. They demand improved working conditions, appropriate salary for the work they do and to have contracts.

News

Tbilisi garbage fees may be reduced

by | October 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Tbilisi City Hall has started a process that could lead to a controversial mechanism being abolished involving the garbage collection fee being tied to the electric bill. The system was introduced in late 2011, and is one of the most controversial

Opinion

Reflections on Georgia’s 2013 draft budget

by | October 11, 2012

Georgian government October two presented draft for state budget adjusted to the interest of the United National Movement to the Georgian parliament. But now election winner Georgian Dream awaits the draft in parliament. This force’s election promises is radically different

News, Prisoner abuse

Alleged architect of prison abuse videos freed

by | October 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The prisoner whom the government claimed orchestrated the prisoner abuse videos has been released. Tamaz Tamazashvili, the father-in-law of the likely candidate for new interior minister, was Wednesday released from prison. When leaving prison Tamazashvili

News

Tbilisi mayor creates new security force

by | October 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The mayor of Georgia's capital Tbilisi has decided to set up a new security force. Mayor Gigi Ugulava has signed a protocol about setting up the service, which has already been published on Georgia’s legislative website Matsne, which means that

News

Government backtracks on seized property

by | October 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Property seized in the heat of the election campaign is to be returned, even though the new government is not yet in place. New stricter legislation was used by authorities in spring to fine tens of individuals, including election winner Bidzina Ivansivhili,

In brief, News

EU signs 23 million euro aid package with Georgia

by | October 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two financial agreements have been signed between Georgia and the EU. According to press office of the State Minister for EU and Euro Atlantic Integration, Minister Thornike Gordadze signed the two agreements. The agreements have a budget of 23 million

News

Release May 26 prisoners, says Burjanadze

by | October 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Leaders of People’s Assembly and Democratic Movement demand the release of political prisoners and illegally arrested people as soon as possible. Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement, and Irakli Batiashvili from People’s Assembly today

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Georgian Dream activists accused of violence

by | October 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The physical harassment and psychological pressure against the district election commissions is continuing. Activists from the Georgian Dream party, which won the parliamentary election last week, are now accused of harassing local authorities in Marneuli

NGO news

Civil groups ready to help new government

by | October 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The largest Georgian union of civil society organizations is ready to offer advice and ideas to the new government. The National Platform – which unites 106 civil society organizations – says it is ready to take part in democratic reforms and efforts

News, Prisoner abuse

At last, the public will be allowed into Georgia’s prisons

by | October 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The prison minister in Georgia says he will put together a monitoring group to let human rights activists and the media into facilities to check the conditions. Apart from non-governmental organizations and the media, the monitoring group will also have

News

Saakashvili meets election winner Ivanishvili

by | October 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- An extraordinary meeting took place in Tbilisi today, as President Mikheil Saakashvili received billionaire and election winner Bidzina Ivanishvili and his political partners at the presidential palace. After Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition won the

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

Economy, News

Saakashvili hands over record state coffers

by | October 9, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's state accounts by are by September 2012 at one of the highest levels during the past few years at more than two billion, nearly USD 1.22 billion. The state budget for 2013 is 9 billion lari, USD 5.5 billion, which is more than half a billion

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

Society

Tbilisoba: what treats an old city can offer

by | October 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s capital last weekend was the scene of elaborate display of handicraft, winemaking, food and fun, as the annual celebration Tbilisoba as usual drew large crowds to engage in various aspects of Georgian traditional ways of life. Tbilisoba

News

New government takes shape

by | October 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili Monday presented his candidates for government ministers and other important positions, after his coalition won the parliamentary election one week ago. The candidates will need approval by parliament. Candidate

News, Prisoner abuse

Protested against violence

by | October 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Groups on Sunday protested against the attack on a well-known Georgian writer who was beaten after participating in a TV debate about the publishing of the names of prison employees by a newspaper. About 50 people gathered outside a police station

Interviews

What now for Georgian politics?

by | October 8, 2012

A new coalition called Georgian Dream won a clear victory in the parliamentary election last week. Georgia-expert Lincoln Mitchell interprets the result. Did you expect these results?I believe last time we spoke, and certainly last time I was here, I mentioned that the NDI

News, Prisoner abuse

Writer attacked after prison guard naming dispute

by | October 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Protests continue after a Georgian newspaper published the names of employees at a prison scandalized by revelations of torture. On Saturday evening, a well-known writer who has been engaging in the protests was attacked and beaten. Asaval-Dasavali,

Economy, News

High expectations about low prices

by | October 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- One of the largest petrol companies reduced the price of petrol by 8 tetris. A spokesman for the new government believes it is possible to decrease the price by 20 tetris, or about USD 0.13. This comes soon after the leader of a coalition which won the

Media, News

Government’s hold over TV is crumbling

by | October 7, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There is a crisis in pro-government TV in Georgia, after an opposition coalition won the parliamentary election. October 5, several well-known anchors and journalists at Imedi TV, which is controlled by Saakashvili's government, each wrote on their

News

Saakashvili expects election result to attract the mafia

by | October 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili Friday told his acting interior minister and chief prosecutor to do everything to prevent the mafia from crossing the border into Georgia. After it became clear that Bidzina Ivanishvili's coalition was going to win the election,

Media, News

Rustavi 2 founders call for independence

by | October 6, 2012

The founders of Rustavi 2, a TV company are fighting to get back control which they claimed was forcefully deprived from them. Rustavi 2 played an important role in the rose revolution in 2003, which brought President Mikheil Saakashvili to power, but later became completely

News

Seizure lifted of satellite dishes

by | October 6, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Friday, authorities in Georgia lifted the seizure of thousands of satellite dishes belonging to Maestro TV and Georgian Dream affiliated Global TV, a cable network operator. Both companies on Friday received a letter about the lifting of the seizure.

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, Prisoner abuse

Prisoner found dead, suspected suicide

by | October 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia's prison ministry informs that a suicide might have taken place at No 18 prison hospital. The body of a prisoner was found in the bathroom of the prison hospital September 5. The cause of death was hanging. The prisoner had been placed in the

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Counting completed, many complaints

by | October 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Four days after the election, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said the counting of votes had been completed and announced the final results. After collating votes from 3 766 district, preliminary results show the Georgian Dream coalition received

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

Georgian colonel arrested

by | October 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A colonel in Georgia’s armed forces who recently chaired Georgian peace divisions in Afghanistan has been arrested. His arrest was announced 45 days after it happened, 15 days earlier than his punishment was to end. Opposition channel TV9 reported

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Video shows armed attack on voting precinct

by | October 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A video was publishedThursday showing a person wearing a mask breaking into one of the election precincts in Khashuri, a small town in eastern Georgia. On election day Monday, there were reports about special units breaking into several precincts

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,

Society

Marking World Animal Day

by | October 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- While the country is rocked by political tension, rallies and protests, up to twenty students and others today gathered at Tbilisi Concert Hall to mark World Animal Day. They told DFWatch that they view it as a day for the protection of animal rights

News

Gamkrelidze leaves politics after election defeat

by | October 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The leader of a decade old party has said he is leaving politics, sticking to a promise to leave if his party did not make it into parliament. The New Rightists Party, which was established in 2001, gained only 0.43 percent of the votes in the parliamentary

News

Missing Ivanishvili guard returns home

by | October 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A former body guard for the Georgian Dream coalition, who was reported missing, returned home today. In a 'leak war' shortly before the election, Beso Surmava, former security guard for Bidzina Ivanishvili, was one among those who released secret recordings

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Wave of demonstrations against election fraud

by | October 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian Dream and others are protesting outside the election commission offices in nineteen one-past-the-post districts where the National Movement party is winning. According to the latest figures from the Central Election Commission, Georgian Dream

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili lost in his favorite region

by | October 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- President Mikheil Saakashvili's party lost the election in the Autonomous Republic of Adjara. This is his favorite region which he visits frequently. Georgian Dream coalition got 57.6 percent of the votes according to the most recent figures from the

News, Prisoner abuse

Anger after newspaper names prison guards

by | October 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- One of Georgia's most popular newspapers on Wednesday revealed the identity of guards working in a controversial prison where serious abuse was revealed two weeks ago. The list shows the names, address and date of birth of prison guards and employees working at

News

Ivanishvili to visit the U.S.

by | October 3, 2012

The election winner in Georgia's first visit abroad will be to the U.S., probably after the U.S. presidential election. Bidzina Ivanishvili told journalists Wednesday that the U.S. ambassador to Georgia had delivered him a formal invitation to the U.S. He met Ambassador

News

Ivanishvili prepares for tough negotiations

by | October 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The coalition that won the parliament election is putting together a working group to handle relations with the president and the current government. The group will hold consultations in the name of the Georgian Dream coalition. The Georgian Dream

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Clinton congratulates Georgian election winners

by | October 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The U.S. Secretary of State responded to Monday’s election in Georgia congratulating Georgians on their peaceful and active participation in the election. A statement published on the State Department website says the election was a historic day for

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Counting of votes almost completed

by | October 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The counting of votes is almost finished in Georgia and results show that the opposition leads with 55.1 percent, against the ruling National Movement with 40.1 percent of votes. The other parties seem to not overcome the 5 percent barrier for getting

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Most violations were not grave, ISFED found

by | October 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) summed up events on Election Day and reported about violations. The organization had 300 observers at 63 election district from 73. ISFED found that the election process went mostly with

News

Election winner asks Saakashvili to ease transition

by | October 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of the coalition that won the Georgian election Monday says it would be best for President Mikheil Saakashvili to resign and appoint early presidential election. Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of the victorious Georgian Dream coalition,

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Parallel vote counting confirms opposition win

by | October 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A group carrying out parallel vote counting has estimated that Georgian Dream won by 54.6 to 40.7 percent over National Movement. International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) published their results of parallel vote tabulation (PVT).

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Georgian election was competitive, OSCE finds

by | October 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – OSCE says Georgia made an important step in consolidating the conduct of democratic elections, but there are still some key issues left needing to address. The organization has the largest contingent of election observers here, under its Office for

News

Georgia election winner calls for Saakashvili to step down

by | October 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The winner in the Georgian parliamentary election says it would be wise of Mikheil Saakashvili to step down and announce early presidential election. The next presidential election is planned for late 2013. Bidzina Ivanishvili said this at a press

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Call for results to be annulled

by | October 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The election result from several precincts in three districts of Georgia may be annulled, says the head of Central Election Commission (CEC). Due to tension at several precincts in Khashuri that were stormed by special police units yesterday,

News

Saakashvili: ‘We will be the new opposition’

by | October 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The National Movement party moves into opposition, President Mikheil Saakashvili has told the Georgian people in a TV address. The president said preliminary vote counting clearly shows that the Georgian Dream coalition came in first in the

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Oppositon victory in Georgia election

by | October 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Official results from the Central Election Commission at 06:20 am local time showed that the opposition Georgian Dream was leading with 54.61 percent ahead of the ruling National Movement party with 40.44 percent. Counting is still ongoing. These results

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Police storm election precincts in Georgia

by | October 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Special police forces stormed several election precincts in Georgia, seized the ballot box and rewrote the protocol, in order to prevent an opposition victory. Special units of the police have entered several election precincts in Khashuri, a small

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Young lawyers found violations

by | October 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgian Young Lawyer's Association discovered many violations during the election October 1. At a press conference 21:00 GYLA detailed their findings. The organization has information that near two election precincts special forces are mobilized.

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Opposition takes all seats from Tbilisi

by | October 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – According to Maestro TV's exit poll, the opposition Georgian Dream coalition is set to win also in districts with the majoritarian (first-past-the-post) system in the capital: Mtatsimnda, Tbilisi – National movement candidate has 23 percent; Georgian

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Violations continued during election day

by | October 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Another series of violations are regularly reported through local non-government organizations, media outlets and social networks from all over the country in Monday's parliamentary elections. The movement Multinational Georgia reports about twenty

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Georgian leader concedes partial defeat

by | October 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili concedes that his National Movement party has been defeated in the parliamentary election in districts with the proportional system, but won in districts with majoritarian candidates. Saakashvili thanked people

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Opposition predicted to win Georgian election

by | October 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – All the exit polls published after voting ended show that the opposition has won the election in Georgia. Also the pro-government TV channels show Georgian Dream winning. Rustavi 2's exit poll show the following: Georgian Dream 51 percent, National

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili has not voted

by | October 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The leader of Georgia's opposition coalition has not voted in Monday's parliamentary election. Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of Georgian Dream, says he refuses to use his new constitutional right to vote, thereby adhering to a statement he made

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Reports of violations

by | October 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Local non-governmental organizations are reporting about different kinds of violations in Monday's election. Transparency International Georgia (TI) reports that one of the main problems is that there are not enough ballot-papers and envelopes in

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Historic Georgian election underway

by | October 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – In Georgia the most important election in recent history is underway. According to the Central Election Commission, there was a 25.5 voter turnout by 12:00. There have already been reports of violations. Many see the parliamentary election as a test

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

Ten month old’s tragic death seen as political

by | October 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – The kidnapping and killing of a 10 months old girl from an opposition activists' family has pushed a strained electoral atmosphere towards the boiling point. A ten-month old infant was today found dead in a pitcher full of water after declared

News

New prison minister goes easy on ill inmates

by | October 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A day before the parliamentary election, the embattled prison ministry in Georgia made a push to explain it is doing something to improve health care for inmates. Since the abuse scandal broke, 107 prisoners have been transferred to prison hospital, 78 to civilian hospitals,

Elections, Elections '12-'13, News

61 000 local observers to follow election

by | October 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – An unprecedented 61 000 local observers will follow tomorrow's parliamentary election, head of the Central Election Commission (CEC) says. There are more than 33 000 representatives of election subjects and representatives of political parties in

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