Elections '12-'13, News

Georgia may start using biometric voters lists

by | April 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is considering using biometric information to identify voters in the next election. A cross-faction group in parliament presented a proposal on Monday about how to prepare the voters’ list in the future. Those behind the project

News

Georgia-Russia meeting set for June 4-5 in Prague

by | April 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Zurab Abashidze, the Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Relations with Russia, will meet with Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Gregory Karasin on 4 or 5 June in Prague. This will be the third meeting between Abashidze and Karasin since

News

Fear of surveillance must be eliminated, says Ivanishvili

by | April 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new government is not conducting illegal surveillance of citizens, but the fear people have of being tracked should be eliminated, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivansihvili said on Monday. Georgia’s National Platform of the Eastern Partnership, which

News, Security

Ivanishvili optimistic about NATO membership prospects

by | April 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--‘A magical recipe for Georgia’s NATO integration without offending Russia is Georgia becoming an interesting country,’ says Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. He said this Monday as he attended the 83rd Rose Roth Seminar of NATO's

News, Sport

Georgia best nation in European Judo Championships

by | April 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia won the 2013 European Judo Championships for men with three gold, three silver and one bronze medal, followed by Russia with one gold, one silver and one bronze and France with one gold and six bronze. The Georgian team won a gold medal

Elections '12-'13, News

Counting finishes in Georgia by-election

by | April 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition’s candidates have won the by-election in all three districts, according to preliminary results after counting of votes in all precincts. The Central Election Commission on Sunday published the results of counting votes

NGO news

1 877 politically motivated dismissals in local governments

by | April 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) has found that 1 877 persons have been dismissed by gamgeoba, a local executive authority in districts, for political reasons. ISFED presented its third report about post-election

News, Security

Ivanishvili says Georgia has softer tone towards Russia

by | April 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said Friday that Georgia has softened its tone towards Russia in the new security doctrine. But Defense Minister Irakli Alasania and Secretary of the National Security Council Giga Bokeria deny that Georgia

News, Politics

Ivanishvili will soon announce his candidate for president

by | April 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will announce his political bloc's candidate for president in one or two weeks. Mr Ivanishvili said this during an appearance on a talk show on Rustavi 2 Friday. The presidential election is scheduled for

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili alliance wins Georgia by-election

by | April 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Results published by the Central Election Commission after Saturday's by-election in Georgia show that all three Georgian Dream coalition candidates are leading. According to the CEC results, Tamar Kordzaia, Georgian Dream coalition candidate

Elections '12-'13, News

Violations observed in Georgia by-election

by | April 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, a by-election is underway in three election districts. Turnout is largest in Baghdati, a town in western Georgia, where 21 percent (5 000) voters already had cast their vote by noon. 10 percent voted in Nadzaladevi, a district in Tbilisi,

Elections '12-'13, News

By-elections in three districts in Georgia today

by | April 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--By-elections are held three places in Georgia on Saturday to fill seats in parliament that became vacant as the Ivanishvili government took power last year. The three election districts are, Nadzaladevi in the capital Tbilisi, and Samtredia

In brief, News

Third gold to Georgia in judo championship

by | April 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has its third European judo champion, after Avtandil Chrikishvili won gold medal in men’s 81 kg on Friday. Chrikishvili defeated Tomislav Marijanovic of Croatia in the final to win gold in the 2013 European Championship in Budapest.

News

Georgia’s Independence Day celebration to have regional profile

by | April 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ivanishvili government is making plans for a different kind of Independence Day celebration on May 26. Instead of a big military parade in the capital, as was the rule under President Saakashvili, it is planning to hold many smaller events

Legal reform, News

Ivanishvili alliance to overturn Saakashvili’s veto

by | April 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The parliament in Georgia will overturn President Saakashvili's veto against two judicial reform bills on May 1. Irina Imerlishvili, chair of the committee on procedural issues, said at a press conference Thursday that parliament will

News, Prisoner abuse

Two prison inspectors organized ‘welcome greeting’

by | April 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two former inspectors at a prison in Rustavi, a town just south of Tbilisi, have been detained, suspected of mistreatment of prisoners. Interpressnews quotes a representative of the regional prosecutor’s office who gave the names of the detainees

In brief, News

Georgia takes second gold in judo championship

by | April 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Lasha Shavdatuashvili Thursday won gold in the European Judo Championship in Budapest. This is Georgia's second gold in this year's championship. The first one was won by Amiran Papinashvili. Before Thursday's win, 21 year old

Economy, News

Used cars remains Georgia’s biggest export product

by | April 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover in the first three months of 2013 was USD 2 144 million. This is five percent less than in the preceding period, according to a new report by Georgia’s National Statistics Department, Geostat. Export amounted to

News, Security

Izvestia claims link between Boston bomber and Georgian intel

by | April 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Russian newspaper Izvestia accuses Georgia’s special services of having trained one of the brothers behind the recent Boston marathon bombings, but Georgian officials deny this. According to an article published in Izvestia, Tamerlan Tsarnayev,

News

Saakashvili met Bush in Texas

by | April 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili kicked off his visit to the US by meeting with ex-president George W. Bush and NATO's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen. Pictures posted on Saakashvili's official Facebook page showed him and his wife

In brief, News

Kerry promises to visit Georgia

by | April 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--US Secretary of State John Kerry has promised that he will visit Georgia. Kerry made the promise as he met Georgian Minister of Foreign Affairs Maia Panjikidze in Brussels on Wednesday to talk about Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration,

Society

Armenians demonstrated outside Turkey’s embassy in Georgia

by | April 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Armenian community in Georgia on Wednesday held a rally outside the Turkish embassy in Tbilisi. Their demand was that Turkey must recognize the Armenian genocide in 1915 and commemorate the victims. Representatives of Armenian organizations

News, Security

Georgia offers Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway for ISAF exit

by | April 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia offers NATO to use the new Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to ship equipment out of Afghanistan after the ISAF mission finishes in 2014, Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze says. Construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, one of the largest

News

Saakashvili vetoes new court reforms

by | April 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has vetoed two law amendments passed by parliament as part of an effort to reform the justice system. One bills is about new rules for staffing the High Council of Justice, while the other one has to do with restricting

News, Politics

Saakashvili criticizes Ivanishvili for admitting Georgia made mistakes

by | April 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili has criticized Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili for remarks he made regarding two breakaway regions in a speech in Strasbourg Tuesday. Mr Ivanishvili, who was speaking at a session of the Parliamentary

News

Visa rules topic for next Georgia-Russia meeting

by | April 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is hoping for an easing of visa rules for those of its citizens who plan to visit Russia. This was one of the things that came out of a phone conversation between the two diplomats who are handling the political contact between

Europe, News

Ivanishvili answered questions in Strasbourg

by | April 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Tuesday presented his government's plans for creating new jobs, amending the labor legislation and usher in new reforms to promote business. Mr Ivanishvili was speaking at a session of the Parliamentary

In brief, News

Saakashvili visits US to meet Biden and Kerry

by | April 23, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Next week President Mikheil Saakashvili plans to visit the US next week to meet with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and his old friend John McCain

News, Politics

Ivanishvili: Georgia needs support in dialogue with Russia

by | April 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says the fact that there is a dialogue between Tbilisi and Moscow shouldn’t create the impression that the country doesn’t need support from its partners anymore. He said this in a speech at a session

News

Police in Georgia detain brothel owners

by | April 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained several hotel owners for providing space for organized prostitution. On Monday, the Interior Ministry informed that police from Adjara’s main police department had detained a man named Gela (born in 1984),

News

Russia to discuss Georgia’s foreign policy in PACE

by | April 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Russian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) plans to bring up the issue of changing Georgia's foreign policy towards Russia during the ongoing session in Strasbourg. Alexey K. Pushkov, director of

In brief, News

92% of Georgians trust Patriarch Ilia II

by | April 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--92 percent of Georgians say they like Patriarch Ilia II, who for many years has been the most trusted person in the country. According to a new survey published by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Monday, 75 percent say they like Prime

Elections '12-'13, News, Politics

Ivanishvili bloc leading ahead of Georgian presidential election

by | April 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--If public attitudes stay the same until fall, the Georgian Dream coalition's candidate will win the presidential election clearly, without the need for a second round. 58 percent of Georgians say they would like to see the Georgian Dream candidate

Opinion

Land Market in Georgia – Threats and Challenges

by | April 22, 2013

It has been 20 years since the country’s independence, but 70% of the land in Georgia is still unregistered; fragmented land parcels impose another problem to the individuals, thus hinders their commercialization process; the land market in the country

Elections '12-'13, News

US State Dep hails Georgian election in new report

by | April 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The U.S. State Department has published a report on human rights which describes the October election in Georgia as historic. The report deals with the parliamentary election in October, the prison torture, problems within the justice system

Opinion

Moral of a Short Story

by | April 21, 2013

It has been almost three weeks since Adjara senior police official physically abused a driver that had committed a violation. The small story was followed by big developments – local police officer destroyed one of the pieces of evidence proving the truth

Society

Authorities in Georgia explain that ID cards are not sign of Antichrist

by | April 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Ministry of Justice has produced a six-minute commercial to explain that a new ID card with a micro chip is not a sign of the Antichrist, as many locals believe. Clerics and part of the parish planned a rally at the Ministry of Justice

News

Saakashvili’s party allies attack former intelligence head

by | April 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Supporters of President Mikheil Saakashvili's party, the National Movement, are speaking out against a former head of the domestic intelligence service CSD/KUD, who criticized the party strongly last week. A message was posted to the Facebook

In brief, News

Ivanishvili to address PACE on Tuesday

by | April 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will address the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on Tuesday. His speech is expected to deal with the new reforms his government has begun of the courts and the constitution,

In brief, News

Georgia to consider legal recognition of church weddings

by | April 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia may consider granting legal status to weddings conducted by the church. This issue will be studied in the near future by the commission which handles relations between the state and the Orthodox Church. Today, a marriage

News

Saakashvili fired up crowd for anti-Russia themed rally

by | April 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians in the United States rallied in New York Friday, in protest against the foreign policy of the Ivanishvili government, which has ruled Georgia for six months. The rally was the continuation of a mass gathering in the capital of their

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili says government is partly Russian-friendly

by | April 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a speech Friday, President Mikheil Saakashvili accused the Georgian government of being ‘partly friendly towards Russia’. He was speaking at a rally of his party, the United National Movement, in Tbilisi in order to show off popular support

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili’s supporters gathering in Tbilisi for rally

by | April 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United National Movement (UNM) party of President Mikheil Saakashvili will be subject to intense scrutiny today as it launches this year's election campaign outside the old parliament in Tbilisi. Two organizations have informed that they

News

Yushchenko offers to pay for hot bath massage

by | April 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Viktor Yushchenko, the former president of Ukraine, has jumped into a political squabble in Georgia by saying he is willing to pay back USD 400 he was given for a visit to one of Tbilisi’s hot baths. The ex-president says through his spokesperson

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili allies rally in Tbilisi today

by | April 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Saakashvili’s National Movement party is holding a protest rally at the old parliament building in Tbilisi today. According to the Interior Ministry, several streets and squares will be blocked off in connection with the event. There will be no traffic

News

Soldiers detained for harassment on religious grounds

by | April 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Georgia has published details of the military employees who a few days ago harassed and physically abused people on religious grounds. According to a statement issued on Thursday, Onise Khabulava, Chairman

NGO news

TI criticizes absence of GNCC chairman

by | April 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Transparency International Georgia (TIG) says the head of the commission that oversees and regulates the telecommunication and broadcasting sectors is not tending to his duties. TIG now calls on parliament to investigate if Irakli Chikovani

News

Another store of unused emergency supplies found in Georgia

by | April 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the third time the Refugee Ministry has discovered a warehouse where there has been kept products and household items meant to be distributed to the refugees from the Russia-Georgia war in 2008, but instead has been locked away all this time.

News

Saakashvili and Ivanishvili exchanging corruption accusations

by | April 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two days before a planned rally by President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement, the ruling Georgian Dream coalition accuses it of embezzlement of state money. But the UNM claims the government is presenting

In brief, News

Saakashvili’s allies take leave from parliament

by | April 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Members of Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement party have taken the last two days off from work in parliament in order to prepare for a big rally on April 19. One of the party's leaders, Davit Bakradze, on Wednesday explained that for two

Interviews

NDI’s Luis Navarro about the latest survey

by | April 18, 2013

DFWatch: What was the methodology of your latest survey? Were there any changes compared to the previous surveys that you’ve done in the past year? Luis Navarro: The methodology that we use is consistent. We use random route sampling; we use a Kish table

In brief, News

Saakashvili: 100 000 Russian troops crossed border in 2008

by | April 17, 2013

Tbilisi, DF Watch - President Mikheil Saakashvili says it was possible to avoid Russia-Georgian war of August 2008 only if Georgia would give up its statehood. He also remembered details of war saying that more than

News

Merabishvili claims criticism is the result of pressure

by | April 17, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili claims that a scathing attack on him by a former colleague was the result of pressure. A message posted to Facebook and allegedly written by Data Akhalaia, the former head of the domestic

Society

Soldiers terrorized village in hunt for non-Christians

by | April 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals in a village close to the Black Sea shore claim that a group of soldiers late at night verbally and physically abused seven locals based on religious views. The locals say three military police department employees stopped Levan Meskhidze

News

Drivers on strike in Imereti

by | April 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Problems are building for the local population as drivers on a minibus route between Zestaponi and Samtredia, two small towns in western Georgia, are on strike against a cut in their salaries. The strike is especially causing problems for small scale

News

Ex intelligence head attacks former interior minister

by | April 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A message posted on Facebook allegedly by a former official who fled from Georgia after the October elections has triggered a massive outcry in the country. The message purports to be written by Data Akhalaia, former head of Georgia's domestic

News

42% of Georgians think Russia is an exaggerated threat

by | April 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--42 percent of Georgians think that Russia is a threat to Georgia, but that the threat is exaggerated. 26 percent think Russia is a real threat to Georgia, while 23 percent think Russia is no threat to Georgia. 9 percent don’t know, while one percent refused to answer

News

Georgians support constitutional amendment

by | April 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Most Georgians agree with a new constitutional amendment, which was recently passed and reduced the rights of the president. People also support an initiative to reverse a decision to have parliament in the country's second biggest city Kutaisi,

News

President Saakashvili won’t get a military parade this year

by | April 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia has not invited President Mikheil Saakashvili to the celebration of Independence Day May 26, which this year will not involve a military parade. Vice Speaker of Parliament Manana Kobakhidze said the president still

News

Ugulava calls investigation ‘betrayal’

by | April 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava has threatened that any investigator involved in the planned new investigation of the 2008 Georgia-Russia war will be participating in 'betrayal' and will be 'punished' when the right time comes. The government of

News

Hammarberg: Investigation will not ask who started ’08 war

by | April 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Thomas Hammarberg, the EU's Special Representative in Georgia, says both sides of in the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 made mistakes and it is good if it will be investigated. Finishing off a visit, Hammarberg said at a press conference Sunday

In brief, News

Ivanishvili visits Germany

by | April 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is visiting Germany to participate in a conference organized by the German Marshall Fund. Part of the delegation are also Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili, Foreign Affair Minister Maia Panjikidze,

Opinion

Ten Questions Georgians Should Be Asking Themselves Today

by | April 15, 2013

Outsiders in both Russia and the West are quite prepared to tell Georgians what they should want and how they should pursue it. That is not their proper role: Georgians are the ones who must make choices about Georgia’s future. But outsiders sometimes can play

News

Controversy continues over 2008 war inquest

by | April 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ivanishvili government’s decision to launch a new investigation into the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008 is receiving a lot of criticism from opponents and former government officials, who claim that the decision is 'anti-state' and will

NGO news

Audit Office was biased, new report finds

by | April 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--According to a new report, the Audit Office was biased in favor of the United National Movement (UNM) under the previous government. The report by Transparency International Georgia (TIG), called Finances of Political Parties for the year 2012,

In brief, News

Turkey allows Georgian specialists in monastery works

by | April 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Turkey has agreed to allow Georgian specialists to participate in the restoration of a Georgian the 7th century Ishkhani Monastery on its territory. A meeting was held on Friday at the Ministry of Culture of Turkey in Ankara, where representatives

News

Georgia considers a softer way to mark its national day

by | April 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's president, Mikheil Saakashvili, says Georgia has a government which is ashamed of conducting an independence day parade and this way gives up the key to its independence. Georgia marks its independence day on May 26.

Elections '12-'13, News

Kutaisi mayor deposed by city assembly

by | April 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The city assembly in Kutaisi, Georgia's second largest city, has dismissed its mayor by 14 votes against five. Besik Bregadze, former Kutaisi mayor, said that he now has an opportunity to rest, but still doesn’t know if he will remain

News

Woman detained for forcing daugther to appear in child pornography

by | April 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained a 45 year old woman who is suspected of making and selling pornographic photo and video material of her 11 year old daughter. A 42 year old man was simultaneously detained in Israel, suspected of distributing

In brief, News

Saakashvili refuses to cooperate with 2008 war inquest

by | April 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili says he doesn’t plan to cooperate with a new investigation of the Russia-Georgia war in August, 2008. “I, as president, distance myself completely from the statement by the prime minister that it was a fault

Economy, News

PayPal enters Georgia

by | April 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The e-commerce company PayPal will now offer its services in the country Georgia. It is not easy to get onto the company's list of countries it covers, Deputy Economy Minister Dimitry Kumsishvili said Thursday. “But thanks to the efforts

News

Eight villages in Georgia had crops damaged by hail

by | April 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Eight villages were affected by the hailstorm April 10, which lasted about 20 minutes and destroyed crops, mainly peach trees and vineyards. Among the villages that were damaged were Ruispiri, Ikalto, Kondoli and Tsinandali. In some of the villages,

News

Restoration halted at Georgian monastery in Turkey

by | April 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The rehabilitation of the Georgian Ishkhani Monastery on Turkish territory has been partly suspended. The Ministry of Culture a few days ago asked for a halt in rehabilitation work at the 7th century monastery until Georgian specialists have had

News, Prisoner abuse

Four prison staff suspected of torture and rape in Georgia

by | April 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained two prison employees for torturing and raping a prisoner in 2012. The detentions took place at Ksani prison north of the capital. Two other employees are being searched for in the same case. The Prosecutor’s Office

Economy, News

Russia allows import of Georgia’s Borjomi mineral water

by | April 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--After a second round of inspection, the Georgian mineral water Borjomi has been allowed to export to Russia. The watershed decision became known in Russian media on Thursday. Russian customer rights’ service known as Rospotrebnadzor has completed

In brief, News

Hail storm destroyed crops in Georgia

by | April 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A hailstorm Wednesday destroyed harvest and flooded the first floors of houses in the village Ruispiri in eastern Georgia. Information Center of Kakheti reports that the hailstorm lasted 20 minutes and ripped the flowers off trees. “The hail

News

Ivanishvili defends new inquest into 2008 war

by | April 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has defended an initiative to investigate what happened during the war in 2008 between Russia and Georgia. The small Caucasus nation fought a brief war against Russia in August that year, and as Russia

News

Georgia to study mistakes made in 2008 war

by | April 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In the next few days, Georgia will begin an evaluation of its own military actions during the war with Russia in August, 2008. Georgian military experts who have studied the August war have for a long time said it is necessary to have an official

Elections '12-'13, News

Ivanishvili dares Saakashvili to announce new election

by | April 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's prime minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has a clear message to President Mikheil Saakashvili: If you want to dismiss the government and announce a new election for parliament, go ahead and see what happens. Ivanishvili said he would welcome

News

Saakashvili’s party urges president to block three bills

by | April 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party members demand that the he uses his right to veto three important drafts which parliament currently is reviewing, one of which has already been passed. The draft bill about court reform was adopted on Thursday.

In brief, News

Saakashvili carries on visit with broken arm

by | April 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite having a broken arm, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili carried on his tour of Turkey Tuesday and met his Turkish counterpart, Abdullah Gül. On Sunday, Saakashvili crashed with a trailer in Antalya during his daily bicycle exercise.

Opinion

The reserve funds should be regulated

by | April 9, 2013

On March 4, 2012, Georgian media outlets reported that the President of Georgia was opening a summer theatre in Batumi. Had it happened before the 2012 parliamentary elections, there would have been nothing unusual about it, but in fact it was

In brief, News

Schwarzenberg tells Georgia Czech Republic can not mediate

by | April 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russia only respects larger states, therefore the Czech Republic cannot be mediator between Georgia and Russia, Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Tuesday. The minister, who is visiting Georgia, said this at a joint press conference

In brief, News

April 9 remembered in Georgia, 24 years on

by | April 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--April 9 Georgia remembered that it was 24 years since Soviet troops dispersed a peaceful protest in Tbilisi, and 22 years since the day when Georgia restored its independence. People started arriving late night yesterday at the April 9 memorial

News

Georgia to guarantee free textbooks for all pupils

by | April 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's education minister Giorgi Margvelashvili has announced that school books will be free for every pupil in 2013-2014. He made the announcement at a press conference at one of the schools in Tbilisi on Monday. Margvelashvili underlined

In brief, News

30 town officials in Sagarejo replaced

by | April 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) says people are still being fired for political reasons in Georgia and calls on the government to prevent it. The call comes after the dismissal of several employees of the local

News

Saakashvili hospitalized with broken arm after bike ride

by | April 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili has broken his arm while riding a bicycle during a visit to Turkey. He is undergoing medical treatment in Istanbul and all his meetings are postponed. The accident was reported by Turkish media,

News

Georgia will re-investigate 2008 war and question Saakashvili

by | April 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's justice minister says it is necessary to question President Mikheil Saakashvili about the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008. Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani on Monday told local journalists that when the time comes for questioning

Elections '12-'13, News

CEC approves candidates for Georgian by-election

by | April 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Central Election Commission in Georgia has confirmed the list of candidates for the by-elections on April 27. The two major political blocs in Georgia presented their majoritarian candidates one week ago. The election is needed because three

In brief, News

PACE co-rapporteurs visiting Georgia

by | April 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Michael Aastrup Jensen and Boriss Cilevics from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will arrive in Georgia on Monday for a five-day visit. On Monday, the co-rapporteurs have planned to hold meetings with Prime Minister Bidzina

News

Saakashvili visits Turkey

by | April 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's president Mikheil Saakashvili is on an official visit to Turkey, and has already held meetings with the Turkish prime minister and ethnic Georgians living in the northern industrial city Bursa. After meeting with the prime minister,

News

Uncertainty remains about restoration of Rabati castle

by | April 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Friday a round table discussion was held about the rehabilitation of historic Rabati castle in the south of Georgia, but it ended without agreement. Representatives of the Culture Ministry, arts experts, archeologists, clerics, as well as the Secretary

News

Georgian parliament passes court reform bill

by | April 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament has finally passed the bill about common courts after months of discussions. But the law still requires the president’s signature in order to come into force, which it is expected that President Mikheil Saakashvili will refuse to provide.

In brief, News

Six Georgians released by South Ossetia

by | April 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The de facto government of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia has released six Georgians who were detained for ‘illegally crossing the border.’ Two of them have been detained since September 19, 2012. Malkhaz Titvelashvili and Givi

News

Georgia defends Ivanishvili’s Virgin Islands assets

by | April 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government on Friday defended Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili after he was listed in an article in the Guardian as one of the people who own secret companies registered on the British Virgin Islands. The reason he didn't disclose

Society

Georgia to conduct census in November 2014

by | April 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will conduct a population census November 5-19, 2014. An action plan is already ready and preparations for the census will start in 2013. Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure Davit Narmania and Head of the National

In brief, News

Number of prisoners halved in Georgia

by | April 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The number of prisoners in Georgia was reduced by 56.2 percent in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, according to the Ministry of Corrections. The number of prisoners has been a cause of alarm during the last years.

News

Agreement about not changing the course of Mtkvari

by | April 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The course of one of the main rivers in Georgia will not be changed, the energy minister said at a meeting with members of President Saakashvili’s party on Thursday. Mtkvari is the longest river in Georgia, and crosses the whole country from west

News

Georgian villagers want to stop land sale to Indians

by | April 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The population in the village Ditsi, which is located close to Georgia’s occupied Tskhinvali region, are protesting against the sale of their land to Indians and refuse to let them cultivate it. Even though the farmers in the village are left without pasture,

Elections '12-'13, News

Saakashvili loses control of Kutaisi

by | April 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Saakashvili’s National Movement party has lost its majority in Kutaisi city assembly. This is the second largest city in Georgia, and where the parliament currently is located. A nearby air field also newly connected the city by international

News

Turkey confirms Rabati castle agreement

by | April 5, 2013

Turkey's ambassador to Georgia confirms that experts from Turkey have visited Rabati castle and requested certain ‘changes and improvements’ for the complex. Two days ago, a spokesperson for President Mikheil Saakashvili presented a draft of an agreement

NGO news

Police chief hospitalized after quarrel with lawyers

by | April 4, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The head of Adjara police has been taken to hospital with convulsions and strong anxiety after he was accused of violence and an organization demanded his suspension. Doctors say police chief Valerian Telia, who was brought

News

Saakashvili’s party criticizes easing of A, SO travel rules

by | April 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party is critical to a process to amend the law on the occupied territories. The amendment deals with rules for how to travel to the breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia and punishment for breaking the rules.

News

Government prepares to move parliament back to the capital

by | April 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government has announced a USD 3 million tender for the rehabilitation reconstruction of the old parliament building in Tbilisi. On Mikheil Saakashvili’s initiative, a new parliament was built in Kutaisi, the second largest city in the country.

NGO news

Young lawyers in dispute with the police in Batumi

by | April 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) thinks the Ministry of Internal Affairs is biased and unfair when protecting a police officer who is accused of physically abusing one of their lawyers. According to GYLA, the head of Adjara police,

News, Prisoner abuse

Prisoner abuse a persistent problem in Georgia

by | April 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several hundred prisoners have complained to the public defender’s office from September of 2012 until the end of the year saying they were subject to mistreatment by prison staff. The disturbing figures are included in the ombudsman's annual

News

Saakashvili’s party withdraws bill about white collar crime amnesty

by | April 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM) party is withdrawing a proposal to give amnesty to people guilty of financial fraud, saying it would fail to get the necessary votes. Member of Parliament for UNM Zurab Japaridze on Wednesday

News

Saakashvili: ‘Government plans drastic changes at historic castle’

by | April 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili claims that the Ivanishvili government plans to make a deal with Turkey about removing Christian symbols from the historic Rabati Castle, but the Ministry of Culture claims Rabati won’t be destroyed in any of case.

NGO news

After government change, courts are still biased in Georgia

by | April 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new report shows that there were some positive changes in the Georgian judiciary system from June 1 to October 31, 2012, but there still are a lot of problems. “There are some positive changes in the judiciary

Society

Long overdue Georgia census in the works

by | April 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In 2014, Georgia will conduct its first population census in 25 years. This was decided by the State Coordination Commission on Tuesday. Head of the commission is Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. The last census was conducted in 1989

In brief, News

Uncertainty about Georgia’s participation in EU’s Mali mission

by | April 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is waiting for confirmation from the European Union about whether to send military advisers to Mali to assist the Union's mission there. Georgia told the EU in December it would contribute militarily to the fight against an Islamist insurgency

News

More people complaining about police harassing them

by | April 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new report says a growing number of people are complaining about assaults and threats from the police. The troubling statistic appears in the Georgian ombudsman’s annual report to parliament, which takes stock of the human rights situation

News

Georgia won’t jail for illegal entering in occupied territories

by | April 2, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia eases sanctions for entering its breakaway regions without proper procedures prescribed by the law on occupied territories. Violating this law first time will entail administrative sanctions, not criminal persecution and imprisonment as it is now.

Economy, News

Russia balks Borjomi comeback to its market

by | April 2, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Rospotrebnadzor, a Russian state customer rights’ service, unexpectedly blocked comeback of Borjomi, the best-known Georgian mineral water brand, to the Russian market for undefined period. Even though Borjomi

Economy, News, Opinion

Twin Deficit

by | April 1, 2013

Twin deficit is a situation where a country’s economy is running two deficits at the same time: a fiscal deficit, and a deficit on the current account of the balance of payments. According to the twin deficit hypothesis, persistent fiscal shocks cause a deterioration

News

Church against minority languages charter

by | April 1, 2013

  Tbilisi, DFWatch - Illia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgian Orthodox Church, considers unacceptable to renew talks about adopting the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages,

News

Saakashvili may be interrogated for 2008 war and Imedi TV seizure, prosecutor says

by | April 1, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch - As Archil Kbilashvili, the Chief Prosecutor, said the president might be interrogated on the 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, seizure of independent TV by Saakashvili’s close ally and ‘some other cases’.

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