News

Two more Georgians detained by Russian soldiers near South Ossetia

by | November 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers have taken two more Georgian villagers to a detention facility in Tskhinvali inside the breakaway region South Ossetia. Ambrosi Kapanadze and Genad Baisikovi were taken from the villages Tsagveli and Kobi Saturday morning. Their

News, Security

Georgia renames ministry: not reintegration but reconciliation

by | November 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government has decided to change the name of the Reintegration Ministry into the Ministry of Reconciliation and Civil Equality. The name change will come into force on January 1, 2014. The minister who heads the renamed ministry,

Europe, News

Margvelashvili: Looking forward to EU’s support

by | November 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In his less than two minutes long address at the Eastern Partnership Vilnius Summit President Giorgi Margvelashvili spoke briefly about the country’s past, present and future on the way to Euro-Atlantic integration. After recalling the democratic election

News

Russian solders placing warning signs at de facto border

by | November 30, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The last few days, Russian soldiers have begun installing signs in the villages bordering with South Ossetia that warn locals not to pass, and are continuing installing fences and barbed wire. The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) on Friday expressed concern over

News, Politics

Georgian gov’t presents 2014 budget, expects 5 % growth

by | November 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s budget for next year will be about 9 billion lari (USD 5.3 billion), Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri says. After the government session on Friday, Khaduri told journalists that a draft budget has been sent to parliament for further review

Europe, News

Georgia through first step toward Association Agreement with EU

by | November 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU and Georgia on Friday finished the first signing of the Association Agreement. The proceedings took place in Vilnius during the summit there of the EU's Eastern Partnership. The agreement was signed by the Union's foreign policy spokesperson

Opinion

Better regulation of vehicle procurement by public offices

by | November 29, 2013

The issue of procuring vehicles by public agencies has frequently been discussed by the public and the media for the past several years. Procurement of luxurious cars by high state officials with state money has also been criticized. State procurement which is linked

Europe, News

Margvelashvili to address European leaders in Vilnius

by | November 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili will be given three minutes to address the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius today. He is expected to talk about the importance of Georgia being integrated with Europe, and that a certain resistance

Minorities, News

Demonstration against minaret in Georgian village

by | November 29, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Orthodox clerics and members of a radical religious group Thursday demonstrated in the Georgian village Chela against the restoration of a minaret on the night of November 27. The day ended without incident, and the rally was dissolved peacefully.

Europe, News

Georgia’s Association Agreement with EU through the technical part

by | November 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The technical part of the initialization of Georgia's Association Agreement with the EU is finished, and tomorrow is the official part of the proceedings. Attending Thursday's event in Vilnius were, from Georgia, Deputy Foreign Minister Davit

Economy, News

Precise data show 1 % growth in Georgia’s foreign trade

by | November 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover in January-October 2013 was USD 8 591 million, according to precise data from Georgian National Statistics Department (Geostat). This is one percent more than in the same period last year. The export was USD 2 306

In brief, News

One released from South Ossetian detention

by | November 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian man has been released from a holding facility in South Ossetia after first being detained two days ago for trespassing. Malkhaz Vanishvili, 24, from the village Khurvaleti near the de facto border, was detained together with Gocha Makishvili.

Europe, News

Georgian MPs don Ukrainian flags in show of support

by | November 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--National Movement MPs on Wednesday came to parliament wearing Ukrainian flags as tie and with Ukrainian flags on their desks. They did it to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people. The speaker of parliament liked the idea and asked to give him one too.

Minorities, News

Minaret back up in Georgian village Chela

by | November 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The minaret that was taken down in a Georgian village was put back up at the mosque Wednesday night. According to the local newspaper Samkhretis Karibche (Sknews.ge), the local government in Adigeni issued a permission to restore the minaret in Chela

Economy, News

Georgian citrus fruits are being exported to Russia

by | November 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ship Wednesday arrived in Batumi to take aboard 300 000 boxes, or 120 tons, of Georgian citrus fruits and bring the goods to Novorossiysk. The citrus fruit originated in the two municipalities Khelvachauri and Kobuleti. According to Zaur Putkaradze,

Europe, News

Georgia to initialize Association Agreement with EU on Friday

by | November 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will initialize its Association Agreement with the EU on November 29 as leaders of the EU and countries in the Eastern Partnership meet in Vilnius. Davit Zalkaliani, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, will initialize the agreement by signing

In brief, News

Georgia-Switzerland visa treaty comes into effect from Jan 1

by | November 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new agreement between Georgia and Switzerland about simplified visa rules will come into force on January 1, 2014. According to the Georgian Foreign Affairs Ministry, the two countries have completed all the procedures related to the agreement

News

Mayoral race in Tbilisi starts with bickering

by | November 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A dispute has developed between the current Tbilisi mayor and the likely new mayor. The dispute has to do with infrastructure projects in Tbilisi which the encumbent mayor claims the candidate for new mayor, who is now infrastructure minister, has

Minorities, News

Few Roma families take part in elections in Georgia

by | November 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Meliasanovs, a Roma family of nine, did not participate in the last presidential elections, because they are registered far from where they actually live. However, they don't believe that the elections would improve their hard social and financial

News

Two Georgians detained near South Ossetia

by | November 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Russian soldiers have detained two Georgian citizens at the de facto border with the breakaway region South Ossetia. The detainees - Malkhaz Vanishvili, 28, and Gocha Makishvili, 28, from the village Khurvaleti - have been taken to a detention

News

Journalist selected as head of president’s pardon commission

by | November 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili has replaced some of the members of the presidential pardon commission, one of two commissions which review applications from prisoners for reduced sentence or early release. Aleksandre Elisashvili, a well-known

News

Georgia considers ban on carrying knives and swords

by | November 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament is considering banning the carrying of swords of the type belonging to the Georgian national costume Chokha. A few days ago, two teenage boys were injured when two others dressed in Chokha drew swords on them at Pushkin Square in Tbilisi.

News, Politics

Georgian justice minister changes first deputy

by | November 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian justice minister has replaced her first deputy after the new government was approved by parliament. Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani explained on Monday that she has known Davit Jandieri since the time when he was her intern for three

News

Unexplained resignations in Georgia’s prosecution apparatus

by | November 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--It is not known why two deputies to the Georgian chief prosecutor have resigned, and the Tbilisi prosecutor was replaced a few days ago. Lasha Natsvlishvili resigned November 21, just as a new chief prosecutor was appointed. In his letter of

Interviews

Post-election talk with Georgia-analyst Lincoln Mitchell

by | November 25, 2013

DF Watch talked with Georgia-analyst Lincoln Mitchell, Associate Professor at Columbia University's Harriman Institute. DFW: What has changed since July, when we last talked?L.M: The euphoria of winning an election, of unseating Saakashvili, of getting rid of

Minorities, News

Minorities play little role in Georgian politics

by | November 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Representatives of two non-governmental organizations told DF Watch about problems which remain in involving minorities in the election processes and political parties not been actively interested in having contact with minorities. Alexandra

News

Renewed search for missing captain of Stella

by | November 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Economy will finance a renewed search operation for the missing captain of the freighter Stella, which went down in the Aegean Sea on November 3. A search was conducted after the accident, but the captain, Levan Tebidze, was not found,

In brief, News

Georgian wine to be served at EU summit in Vilnius

by | November 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian wine will be served during the summit of the EU's Eastern Partnership in Vilnius November 28-29, the Foreign Affairs Ministry confirms. The event will be held at the exhibition hall Litexpo in Vilnius and will be attended by representatives

News, Politics

Ivanishvili to announce his new plans in a few months

by | November 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili says he will announce his future plans in two or three months. Ivanishvili said this during the Georgian Dream party's congress on Sunday. He said he has to think before he decides how he will continue

News, Politics

Georgia’s new PM takes over helm of ‘Dream’ party

by | November 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili was Sunday elected as new leader of the Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia Party. Gharibashvili took over as leader after Bidzina Ivanishvili, who founded Georgian Dream two years ago. Delegates also voted for

News

151 prisoners let out early on Saint George’s Day

by | November 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--151 prisoners were let out of jail on Saturday, after a session of the prison ministry’s pardon commission held at the women’s facility in Rustavi, 20 km away from the capital. The commission discussed 700 applications for reduced sentence or

News, Politics

Davit Narmania named candidate for Tbilisi mayor

by | November 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Dream coalition has chosen Davit Narmania, Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development, as its candidate for mayor of Tbilisi. Narmania is thought to be one of the best ministers in the new government. The decision was made by

News, Security

Georgia gets new military top

by | November 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Vakhtang Kapanadze has been appointed as chairman of the Joint Staff of Georgia’s armed forces, replacing Irakli Dzneladze. Who should take over as head of the Joint Staff was subject of a conflict between ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and

Environment, News

Pshav-Khevsureti mountains to become protected area

by | November 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The mountainous Pshav-Khevsureti region in the northeast of Georgia is to be made a protected area. This is a historical region and remains one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The environment committee in parliament has proposed

News

Saakashvili still abroad, visits U.S. Congress

by | November 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The first week after leaving office, former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili remained abroad and Thursday met members of the U.S. Congress in Washington. Among the around twenty politicians Saakashvili met on the Hill was Republican Senator John

In brief, News

Ivanishvili awarded the Supreme Order of Justice

by | November 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili has been awarded the Supreme Order of Justice. The award is given once a year by the World Jurist Association (WJA) to a person and one cleric for their work for peace and justice. WJA President

In brief, News

UNESCO marks anniversary of Georgian poet Tsereteli

by | November 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--UNESCO has placed the 100 year anniversary of the death of Georgian poet Akaki Tsereteli on a list of important events in 2014-2015. Tsereteli was born in 1840 and died in 1915 and is considered the best Georgian poet in this period. He also was

Europe, News

EU Commission evaluates Georgia’s visa action plan

by | November 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Commission is satisfied with how Georgia has completed first phase of a visa action plan which might lead to visa free travel with the EU. The evaluation is particularly important because compliance with the action plan is expected to be

News

Georgia may lift protected status of six thousand historic sites

by | November 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament in Georgia is discussing a draft law about cultural heritage which may remove the protected status of 6 319 historic sites. Among the sites are Borjomi Park in southern Georgia and Romanov Palace in Abastumani, as well as Narikala Castle,

News

Georgia-Russia talks: ‘Maniacal hostility’ is over, says Karasin

by | November 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Russia met for the fifth time Thursday in Prague within the diplomatic channel established by the government that came to power a year ago. After the meeting, Georgia's representative Zurab Abashidze said discussions dealt with practical

Society

‘Dream Town’ residents rally for improved conditions

by | November 21, 2013
eco-refugees_batumi_july_2013_dsc_014443_copy_crop

TBILISI, DFWatch--Residents of ‘Dream Town’ - a settlement of homeless families in Adjara - ask the region's authorities to give them shelter. The shantytown residents rallied against the government's decision to give only 15 families shelter, while there are a few

News, Politics

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

by | November 21, 2013

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

Society

Failed hospital chain returned to public ownership

by | November 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--All the Georgian hospitals which were owned by the Israeli company Aditti have now become government property. Aditti owned hospitals in nine regions of Georgia. Most of them are in a difficult condition and doctors at those hospitals have protested

News

Georgia to take part in EU crisis management operations

by | November 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--EU's Foreign Affairs Council has agreed to sign and conclude an agreement establishing a framework for the participation of Georgia in EU's crisis management operations. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia document called Framework Agreement on the Participation of Georgia in EU Crisis Management Operations is to be signed on November 28, in the margins of the Eastern Partnership Vilnius Summit. The Agreement will allow Georgia to participate in EU-led civilian missions and military operations and contribute to the EU's efforts in the crisis management worldwide. The Agreement represents a step forward more structured cooperation between Georgia and the EU in the security field, said in the MFA. The Council also decided to sign and conclude an agreement enabling the Republic of Chile to participate in EU's crisis management operations. Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who chaired the meeting of the council in Brussels, in November 2012 suggested that the government should start negotiations about an agreement which would lead to participation in EU crisis management operations. In March 2013, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania ...

News, Politics

New Georgian government approved by parliament

by | November 21, 2013

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

Economy, News

IMF in Georgia to discuss economic policy with new gov’t

by | November 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The acting Georgian finance minister on Wednesday met with representatives of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to discuss priorities in next year’s budget and the country's macroeconomic indicators. Mark Griffiths, head of the IMF mission,

In brief, News

40 000 households without electricity in Georgia

by | November 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--40 000 households in Georgia are without electricity due to bad weather. According to Energo-Pro Georgia, which distributes electricity to consumers, 50 000 households have been without electricity since morning, but power supply to 10 000 of them has now been restored.

News

Hepatitis C infested prison in Georgia closed due to bad climate

by | November 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prison Ministry in Georgia is considering closing the women’s prison, where new figures showed that 17 % of inmates are hepatitis C positive. The prisoners in Rustavi women's facility will be transferred to another facility, but it is still

News

Sharp exchanges as government lays out its plans to parliament

by | November 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Parliament plans to confirm the new government on Wednesday. On Tuesday, parliamentary committees listened to speeches by the minister candidates and asked them questions. A sharp exchange developed between Prime Minister candidate Irakli

News

Twelve new judges elected in Georgia

by | November 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's High Council of Justice on Tuesday elected 12 new judges. There were 59 candidates present at the session. Each candidate needed at least ten votes out of the 13 members of the council in order to be elected. 41 out of the 59 candidates

News

Georgian PM: Organizers of Khurcha shooting will be punished

by | November 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Acting Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili promises that those who ordered and organized the so-called Khurcha incident in 2008 will be identified and punished. A few weeks ago, police detained two former government officials on suspicion of having organized

Society

17 % in Georgian women’s prison have hepatitis C

by | November 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The acting prison minister in Georgia says screening procedures have revealed a very high level of hepatitis C infections in prisons. Sozar Subari said Tuesday at a session with parliamentary committees that the ratio of infected inmates at the

News, Politics

Gharibashvili names new Georgian government

by | November 19, 2013

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

News

How Georgia will change after the last election

by | November 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--With the inauguration of the new president in Georgia, many things will be different. We give you a rundown of the main changes. After the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili as the new president, the new Constitution came into force. These amendments

Opinion

The Georgian Judiciary Today

by | November 19, 2013

I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.-Thomas JeffersonThe judiciary is in permanent need of control from the side of an impartial and quality observer with a view to ensuring its existence. We are still on

News

Georgia and Israel agree on visa rules

by | November 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia and Israel have formed an agreement which allows Georgian citizens to stay in Israel for 90 days without a visa. Acting Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili and Israel’s Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum on Monday signed an

Economy, News

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover Jan-Oct

by | November 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's foreign trade turnover in January-October 2013 was one percent more than in the same period the year before. According to preliminary data from the National Statistics Department, the total amount of foreign trade turnover in the first ten

News, Security

Election incidents discussed at Ergneti near South Ossetia

by | November 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRM) met for the 39th time on Friday. According to the Interior Ministry, Georgia raised the issue of the installation of barbed wire and fences by Russian soldiers in the villages Ergneti, Ditsi and

Environment, News

Two protests during Georgian inauguration

by | November 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two separate demonstrations went on on the street outside during the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili in the yard of the old parliament building in Tbilisi on Sunday. Labor party leader Shalva Natelashvili rallied supporters and said that the

News, Politics

New Georgian government to face parliament on Wednesday

by | November 18, 2013

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

News

Margvelashvili spoke about independence, unity, integrity

by | November 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Giorgi Margvelashvili was Sunday sworn in as the fourth president of Georgia at a ceremony held in the yard of the old parliament building in Tbilisi. The text of the oath says he swears to protect Georgia’s Constitution, independence of the state,

News

Margvelashvili sworn in as new president

by | November 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili was held today in the yard of the old parliament building in Tbilisi. The schedule of the day's events is the following: at 13:00, the inauguration started and was expected to last for 45 minutes. The new

News

Saakashvili gives Hillary Clinton the Golden Fleece award

by | November 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has awarded former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the Golden Fleece award. Saakashvili is leaving office on Sunday, and in a flurry of activity handed out awards and distinctions to more than a thousand people.

In brief, News

Railway strike called off in Georgia

by | November 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two thousand railway workers in Georgia ended their strike yesterday, after successful negotiations with the company. Talks between workers and the Georgian Railway management board lasted for six hours and all three demands the workers brought with

News

Georgian justice minister asks France to extradite ex-minister

by | November 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's justice minister has asked her French colleague to extradite a former defense minister who faces two separate criminal cases at home. Former Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili left Georgia for France after the National Movement lost the

News, Politics

Saakashvili says goodbye, plans to stay out of politics

by | November 16, 2013

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

News

Police raid brothels in Georgian sea resort Batumi

by | November 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have detained owners and administrators of fourteen hotels and clubs in Batumi and Gonio for allocating space for prostitution. Police in Adjara conducted a coordinated operation in the coast cities of Batumi and Gonio which led to

News

Georgian Security Council secretary resigns, as promised

by | November 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Secretary of Georgia's National Security Council, Giga Bokeria, has resigned a few days before the inauguration of the new president. Bokeria’s letter of resignation is dated November 15 and addressed to the president's administration, which says

News, Politics

Saakashvili not to attend inauguration of new president

by | November 15, 2013

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

News

Rasmussen sends thank you note to Saakashvili

by | November 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has sent outgoing Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili a thank you letter. In the letter, which was published by Saakashvili's administration, Rasmussen thanks the Georgian leader for his 'good

News

Two thousand railway workers on strike in Georgia

by | November 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two thousand railway workers went on strike in Georgia Thursday, demanding overtime pay, bonus system and entitlements. The workers on strike have three main demands: compensation for overtime, a transparent system for award payments and to have

In brief, News

Suspected police attacker let out on bail

by | November 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man suspected of injuring a policeman in Zugdidi, a town in western Georgia, was released on Thursday on a 2 000 lari (USD 1200) bail. Zugdidi City Court satisfied the appeal by the Prosecutor’s Office to release the suspect on bail. The suspect will have

Society

Georgian Church against homeless shelter run by LGBT group

by | November 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Church, the Patriarchate, is against the opening of a shelter for homeless people. The plan has been proposed by the organization Identoba, which protects the rights of LGBT people in Georgia. A private individual donated a building

In brief, News

Relatives rally in support of man who cut off policeman’s ear

by | November 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A protest was held Wednesday in Zugdidi, in western Georgia, by relatives of a man detained for injuring a policeman a few days ago. Their demand was to have him released. But the suspect surrendered to the police and admitted having injured

News

List of guests of Margvelashvili inauguration partially known, Saakashvili’s attendance doubtful

by | November 14, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Lithuanian President, President of Federal Council of Austria, Vice Speaker of Parliament of Czech Republic, also Secretary General of OSCE and NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative in South Caucasus and Central Asia

News

Rebellion at Public Defender’s office over Bacho Akhalaia visit

by | November 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three employees at the Public Defender’s office in Georgia have resigned, and two have been fired, after disagreement over a visit to former prison minister Bacho Akhalaia in jail. Marina Gigineishvili, Amiran Nikolaishvili and Guram Bendiashvili,

Economy, News

EBRD downgrades Georgia’s growth prognosis

by | November 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has downgraded its prognosis for Georgia's economic growth in 2013 from 3 to 2 percent. EBRD said a few days ago that the GDP growth will also be reduced from 5 to 4 percent and the level of

Elections '12-'13, News

Final vote count confirms Georgian election result

by | November 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The final results of the presidential election on October 27 show that Giorgi Margvelashvili of the Georgian Dream coalition received 62.12 percent of votes, Davit Bakradze from the National Movement received 21.72 percent and Nino Burjanadze,

In brief, News

Policeman found naked in a pool of blood after rape attempt

by | November 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A policeman was brutally attacked in western Georgia Tuesday, after locals accused him of having raped a woman. Local media reported that the policeman was found naked, with a broken leg, and in a pool of blood near the presidential residence in

News

New Georgian president ponders going to Sochi Olympics

by | November 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The newly elected president of Georgia is considering showing up at the winter Olympics in Sochi, despite his country's strained relationship with Russia. A few days ago, president-elect Giorgi Margvelashvili said in an interview with Russia’s

Europe, News

Georgia preparing to initiate Association Agreement

by | November 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Association Agreement with the EU will be initiated by Deputy Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani during the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius November 28-29. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said this on Monday. The text of the agreement,

In brief, News

Georgia’s leaders to meet aboard U.S. Navy ship

by | November 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Five days before the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili as new president, he and other members of the current government will join outgoing president Mikheil Saakashvili for an event aboard a U.S. naval ship docked in Batumi. Also outgoing Prime

Minorities, News

Minaret conflict in Chela, Georgia, still unresolved

by | November 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The conflict over a minaret that was dismantled in a small Georgian village is far from over. Locals are continuing their fight to have the minaret restored, and claim that the guarantee of freedom of religion in the Georgian Constitution supports

In brief, News

Guests from thirty countries to attend Georgian inauguration

by | November 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is expecting representatives of 30 countries to attend the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili as new president on November 17. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said Monday that among the guests will be two or three presidents, speakers

Society

Gas heaters continue to cause deaths in Georgia

by | November 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, natural gas is cheaper than electricity, so more and more people use it for heating in winter. But the safety of the devices is far below any acceptable level. A young married couple and their 4 year old daughter died after a gas leak

News

Saakashvili party banner taken down from presidential palace

by | November 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Sunday at noon, the Georgian national flag was back up on the presidential residence in Tbilisi. On Saturday, the National Movement party banner with four hearts and a cross was flying above the building. The government accused the president

In brief, News

85 refugee families to receive apartments in Tbilisi

by | November 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Ministry of Refugees will provide 85 refugee families with apartments on Monday. The apartments, which are located on Kvareli Street in Tbilisi, were distributed to families of internally displaced persons (IDPs) by use of secret ballot,

News

Captain of the sunken freighter Stella declared lost

by | November 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The captain of the sunken freighter Stella has been declared lost as the rescue work ended November 5, according to Georgia's Foreign Ministry. In a statement, the ministry says yacht clubs, harbors and ships sailing near the site of the accident

News

Saakashvili party banner raised above presidential residence

by | November 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian president's administration Saturday raised the National Movement party banner atop the presidential palace in Tbilisi. The flag has four hearts and a cross, instead of five crosses, as is on the Georgian national flag. The government

In brief, News

Georgian and French defense ministers discussed cooperation

by | November 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Defense Minister Irakli Alasania Friday met with his French colleague Jean-Yves Le Drian at the French Defense Ministry. They discussed military-industrial cooperation between Georgia and France and future plans. Alasania said they discussed

News, Politics

New Georgian interior minister appointed

by | November 9, 2013

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

Europe, News

Georgia seeking support for EU integration in Baltics

by | November 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili yesterday finished a one week visit to Lithuania and Latvia. He said Georgia's friends are ready to support its integration with Europe at the summit of the Eastern Partnership’s in Vilnius November 28-29,

Economy, News

The Georgian lari drops in value

by | November 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The exchange rate of Georgian lari against the US dollar and the euro has fallen. November 8, the exchange rate of lari against USD was 1.6793. November 7 it was 1.6737. The rate has been falling for one week. October 29 it was 1.6675. The Georgian lari

News

Improved relations between Israel and Georgia

by | November 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The deputy foreign minister of Israel says relations with Georgia have warmed during the last year. Zeev Elkin, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel, also says that the agreement about visa free travel between the two states will soon

News

Georgia’s chief prosecutor resigns

by | November 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili resigned on Thursday. His replacement, Otar Partskhaladze, was presented Friday. It has not been officially confirmed, but unofficially known that Partskhaladze will leave his job as chairman

Opinion

The “two truths” about the reserve funds

by | November 8, 2013

Since some days after the 2013 presidential elections, much has been said about the millions spent from the President’s Reserve Fund. Representatives of the ruling Georgian Dream Coalition allege that funds from the President’s Reserve Fund were spent for party

News

Austria extradites Georgian accused of sadistic torture

by | November 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Austria has extradited a Georgian citizen who is charged with torture and was being searched for by Interpol. According to the Interior Ministry, Davit Chaginava, who was detained in Austria September 30, has been extradited to Georgia. Interpol has

In brief, News

Campaigner beaten in the head with brick on Election Day

by | November 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police are investigating an attack on the head of the campaign office for Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili in Sagarejo, in eastern Georgia, in the evening of Election Day. Ivane Kvrivishvili was attacked by members of the Georgian Dream

News

Former interior minister defends police reforms in court

by | November 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The trial against former Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili for the violent dispersal of an anti-government protest in 2011 will begin November 19. It was on May 26, 2011, that an anti-government protest in front of parliament was brutally dispersed

News

Saakashvili assures: ‘I hope the new government succeeds’

by | November 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili assures foreign diplomats that he is hoping the new government and president will succeed and make the economy boom. Meeting with foreign diplomats at the president’s palace in Tbilisi on Wednesday to sum up the

News, Security

Georgia rules out peace treaty with Abkhazia

by | November 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has ruled out that there will be signed a non-use of force treaty with Abkhazia, because the country does not sign treaties with the breakaway regions. Vyacheslav Chirikba, de facto Foreign Minister of the breakaway region Abkhazia, said after

News, Politics

President’s reserve fund cut to half

by | November 6, 2013

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

In brief, News

Saakashvili pardons one more former official

by | November 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili has pardoned one more person convicted in the so-called prison riot case and awarded him with Order of Vakhtang Gorgasali of the first class. Revaz Charbadze, a former chairman of the purchasing department of the Defense

News

Saakashvili invites new applicants for citizenship

by | November 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili is planning to grant Georgian citizenship to more people before he leaves office. In a statement on Tuesday, the president's administration invites anyone who wants Georgian citizenship to apply now. Many people have

News

Georgia tries to locate MTC’s broadcasters in South Ossetia

by | November 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s National Communications Commission (GNCC) has confirmed that Russian mobile operator MTC is providing network coverage in villages that border on the breakaway region South Ossetia. GNCC has repeatedly monitored the radiofrequency

News

Russian prosecutor asks Georgia to extradite murder suspect

by | November 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Prosecutor’s Office in Russia has asked Georgia to extradite a man suspected of murdering a Russian diplomat in Abkhazia two months ago. Russian media write that the Russian Prosecutor’s Office has sent an official request to Georgia asking

Economy, News

14 % more visitors to Georgia in October

by | November 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were 14.1 percent more visitors to Georgia in October, compared to last year, according to the Interior Ministry’s monthly report. The number of visitors in October was 480 510. In the entire first ten months of this year, there were 4 556

In brief, News

Georgia wants to hold presentation of wine at Vilnius summit

by | November 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia wants to hold a presentation of wine during the upcoming Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius later this month. Representatives of the Foreign Affairs Ministry explain that Georgia is in negotiations with the organizers about holding a

News

Saakashvili met Sarkozy in Paris

by | November 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili on Monday met with ex-president of France Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris. According to the president’s press office, the main topic of their conversation was Georgia’s integration with Europe and the importance of the

News

Tbilisi preparing for inauguration of new president

by | November 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili and ex-president Eduard Shevardnadze are invited to the inauguration of Giorgi Margvelashvili, the newly elected president. Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze, who is a member of the government commission for the

In brief, News

Ship sinks in Aegean Sea – five Georgians rescued

by | November 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A ship with Georgian crew Saturday went down in the Aegean Sea. Five of the crew members were rescued, but the captain is missing and a search is underway. According to Maritime Bulletin, the small freighter Stella had a crew of six when it sank for

News

Georgia’s presidential palace building to become university

by | November 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The new government plans to open a Georgian-American technical university in the building in Avlabari, Tbilisi, which today is used as presidential palace. The palace which lies on a cliff above the capital was built a few years ago, and still

News, Politics

Khatuna Samnidze elected new Republican Party leader

by | November 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Republican Party, which is member of the Georgian Dream coalition, Sunday elected a new leader at a party congress. The party elected Khatuna Samnidze as new leader. She has been a party member since 2005 and has served as organizational

News, Security

Russia and Georgia to hold talks in Geneva Nov 5

by | November 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new round of Geneva talks will be held November 5-6. It is the 25th time the warring parties of the 2008 Russia-Georgian war meet, and one of the main topics of discussion will be freedom of movement and the installation of barbed wire and fences.

News

Saakashvili pardons former minister

by | November 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Mikheil Saakashvili will pardon former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia, who was recently sentenced to three years and nine months in jail. Saakashvili explains his decision in a long open letter, recalling the time when his government was

In brief, News

Georgia elected member of ECOSOC

by | November 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has been accepted as member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). According to the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the country is elected as member for a period from 2014 to 2016. The election for new ECOSOC members was held

News, Politics

Gharibashvili to decide who will replace him as interior minister

by | November 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's new prime minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, will select his own replacement as interior minister. It was earlier thought that outgoing Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili would decide who will take over as Interior Minister. Ivanishvili explained that now

News

Irakli Gharibashvili named candidate for new prime minister

by | November 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bidzina Ivanishvili on Saturday announced Interior Minister Irakli Gharibashvili as candidate for new prime minister. Ivanishvili presented the new PM at a press conference at the Georgian Dream coalition headquarters at 15:15. "According to the new

News

Georgian agency preparing reaction against MTC

by | November 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s National Communications Commission (GNCC) has started monitoring of the radio frequency spectrum in order to learn the activity of MTC, a Russian mobile company. The monitoring is done to find out what MTC is doing on the territory of Georgia,

News

Irina Imerlishvili new Security Council secretary

by | November 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Irina Imerlishvili, a member of parliament from the Georgian Dream coalition, will be new secretary of Georgia's National Security Council. She confirmed to journalists that she has received such an offer and accepted, which means that as soon as

News, Politics

New Georgian prime minister to be announced today

by | November 2, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will today name his successor. The Georgian Dream political council will first discuss this issue after which Prime Minister will present the candidate to the parliament majority. Ivanishvili will meet with Georgian

News

Bacho Akhalaia to ask the president for a pardon

by | November 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia will send an appeal to the president asking to pardon him as soon as possible. Akhalaia, who faced a number of charges after the change of government, was acquitted in two of the cases, and sentenced to three

Elections '12-'13, News

NDI: Georgia’s election as calm as in the US

by | November 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--National Democratic Institute (NDI) says after observing the election campaign and the October 27 election that a multiparty and competitive election is becoming routine in Georgian politics. NDI's observer mission consisted of a 20-member group, who

News

Georgia considers moving parliament back to Tbilisi

by | November 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Judiciary Committee in parliament supports a constitutional amendment to move parliament back to the capital Tbilisi. For the last year and a half, parliament has been located in Kutaisi, in western Georgia. Thursday, the

News

Former Georgian defense minister remains detained in France

by | November 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A court in France has confirmed the detention of former Georgian Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili. Kezerashvili is charged with abuse of powers while he was defense minister and was detained at Nice airport on October 15. A court placed him in 40

News

Georgia to enforce ban on communist symbols

by | November 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is planning to fine the use of communist symbols with 1 000 lari (USD 600). The use of communist symbols was prohibited by the previous government, but it failed to define the sanctions that apply, and the law has remained inactive. Now, the

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