Elections

Georgia’s ruling party secures enough seats to amend Constitution

by | October 31, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling party Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia won a constitutional majority in the second round of the parliamentary elections, winning all but one majoritarian district, mostly by a significant majority. In Mtatsmimda district, GD had decided

Elections

Many irregularities in second round of Georgia’s election for parliament

by | October 30, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--In parts of Georgia, voters went to the polls again on Sunday in the second round of the parliamentary election. There were runoff contests in 50 single-seat districts, accounting for a third of the seats in the assembly. Voting took place against a background

Politics

Speaker of parliament leaves Republican Party

by | October 29, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili on Saturday announced his resignation and departure from the Republican Party, which he was leader of from 2005 to 2013. He stated his reason as disagreement with the founders and current leadership about the party’s

Elections

UNM claims governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti attacked its cameraman

by | October 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement has accused the governor of the southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region of physically assaulting one of its photographers on Thursday evening. Nikoloz Khizadze claims he was heading to the village Muskhi to document

News

63-year-old railway worker dies after being run over by train

by | October 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 63-year-old man died on Thursday after being run over by a train three weeks ago in the south of Georgia. Zaur Gerliani, who worked as a fitter, had one of his legs run over by a train as he was out repairing tracks in the mining town Kazreti, near Bolnisi,

Economy

First road, now airport – PM promises to develop mountain region Tusheti

by | October 28, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two months after promising to build a new road to Tusheti, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili now suggests building an air strip in the inaccessible region in the northeast of the country. It's an attractive tourist destination, but difficult to access.

News

168 prisoners pardoned in Georgia

by | October 27, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - The Georgian president pardoned 168 prisoners, 114 of them will leave jail today, while the rest had their sentences reduced, the commission’s head, Zviad Koridze, stated at a briefing on Thursday.

News

Georgian Manganese lawyer arrested on corruption charges

by | October 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A lawyer working for Georgian Manganese was arrested for corruption on Tuesday. Mirian Bichikashvili is accused of commercial bribery, the Finance Ministry said. Georgian Manganese owns mines in the small town of Chiatura as well as the ferro-alloy plant

Economy

Georgian Railways considering Tbilisi-Kutaisi airport train

by | October 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Railways is considering creating a new train line connecting the airports in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, with regular departures. Spokesperson Dachi Tsaguria told Kutaisi Post that Georgian Railways is currently researching whether the new

Politics

Free Democrats rebels vow to support GD in second round of election

by | October 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several key figures in Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats party have expressed support for the ruling Georgian Dream before the second round of the parliamentary elections in most majoritarian districts. "In a few days, there will be a second round.

Roads update

Caucasus mountain road closed in north Georgia due to snow and ice

by | October 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A key mountain road that connects north and south Caucasus is now closed for large vehicles because of snow and ice.  Trailers, semi-trailers and vehicles with more than 30 seats are prohibited from driving on the S-3 between Gudauri and Kobi, the Road Department

In brief

Two die as car plunges into river in southwest Georgia

by | October 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two men died in a car accident in a mountainous area in the southwest of Georgia on Monday. One woman survived and was taken to hospital. The accident happened in Keda, a municipality in the Adjara region. The local gamgebeli

News

Victim of shooting at Krtsanisi training ground was 23-year-old Giga Shengelia

by | October 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The body of a man who was shot dead at a military base in Tbilisi Sunday morning has been identified as 23-year-old Giga Shengelia. Two other persons who were with Shengelia are being searched for, although their identity has not yet been established.

Security

Georgian president picks former GIPA colleague as new NSC secretary

by | October 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili on Monday named Davit Rakviashvili, an old colleague at a media and public relations school in Tbilisi, as new secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council. The friendship between the two go back 30 years,

News

One man shot dead during intrusion attempt at Tbilisi military base

by | October 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An attempt by a group of people to enter a military base in Tbilisi Sunday morning left one young man dead after the sentry fired shots at the intruders. The mother of the deceased reacted strongly at the implication that her son would harm anybody.

Elections

UNM and GD won one contest each in repeat election

by | October 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement yesterday won the repeat election in a precinct in the south of Georgia, while Georgian Dream won in the western Zugdidi area. But the UNM candidate didn’t win by more than 50% at the 48th precinct in Marneuli,

Elections

Saakashvili’s wife withdraws from Georgian runoff election, citing fraud

by | October 23, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s former first lady Sandra Roelofs is withdrawing from the runoff election for parliament in Zugdidi, after the repeat ballot in three of Zugdidi’s precincts reveals that her opponent from the Georgian Dream is leading by a significant margin.

News

Will Georgia end compulsory military service? Decision expected in Nov

by | October 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--It is still unknown if a decision by the former Georgian defense minister to end compulsory military service will become a reality. A decision may be expected in November, because Defense Minister Levan Izoria promised to ‘clarify’ the issue by next month,

News

One soldier dies as truck overturns in Georgia

by | October 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One soldier died as a military truck overturned on a highway in Georgia’s eastern Kakheti region on Friday. The other 36 soldiers who were in the same vehicle received only lighter injures. 27 of them were first brought to a hospital in Dedoplistskaro,

Elections

Four precincts in Georgia vote again due to irregularities on Election Day

by | October 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Repeat elections are held today at four precincts in south and west of Georgia where results were cancelled October 8 due to irregularities. The results of one precinct in Marneuli and three in Zugdidi were cancelled due to attacks on Election Day. The main

News

Handover of suspected murderer topic at EU-hosted talks about Abkhazia

by | October 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia demanded the handover of a suspected murderer during a six hour meeting with breakaway authorities in Abkhazia this week. The meeting was held in Gali, in the southern end of the region, and dealt first and foremost

News

One more construction worker dies in Tbilisi, the second in two days

by | October 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--One more construction worker died in Tbilisi on Thursday; the second fatality at a construction site in two days. The accident happened as pipes were being unloaded from a truck on Khizanishvili Street in the northern Mukhiani district of the capital,

News

Georgia and Russia take further steps toward normalizing relations

by | October 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The two countries, which were at war with each other eight years ago, both expressed interest in continuing a pragmatic course in order to normalize relations, according to a statement put out by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

News

Zaza Tavadze elected new head of Supreme Court

by | October 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court elected Zaza Tavadze as new head on Thursday, by five out of eight votes. He will replace Giorgi Papuashvili. The ballot was secret, but it is likely that the following judges supported Tavadze: Merab Turava, Lali Papiashvili, Teimuraz Tughushi

In brief

Car crash in Rustavi claims two lives

by | October 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two people died in a car accident in the Georgian town Rustavi on Wednesday. Interpressnews reports that a Mercedes travelling at high speed crashed into lighting pole on Mshenebeli Street near Public School No 2. Two men died on the spot.

In brief

Construction worker falls to his death in Tbilisi

by | October 20, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A worker fell from a building at a construction site in Tbilisi on Wednesday. He was brought to the Republican Hospital with multiple head injuries and placed in intensive care, but died later the same day. The Ministry of Internal Affairs

Crime, News

Man suspected of stabbing transgender woman placed in pre-trial detention

by | October 19, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The 31-year-old suspected of viciously attacking a transgender woman in Tbilisi on October 14 was Wednesday placed in pre-trial detention. The accused Giorgi Murjikneli’s lawyer asked for his client to be released on 1,000 lari bail, but the judge

News

PM Kvirikashvili: A group will be set up to amend constitution

by | October 19, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Amid growing concern over imminent constitutional majority in the hands of Georgian Dream, Prime Minister airs his initiative to set up a group, which will work on amending constitution.

Elections

Tbilisi NGO workers urge opposition for action against imminent GD constitutional majority

by | October 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Individual members of some of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the Georgian capital Tbilisi are now calling on opposition political parties to call on their voters to support opposition candidates in the second round of the parliamentary election, fearing that the ruling Georgian Dream might secure enough seats in the new parliament to amend the Constitution on its own. In a letter addressed to opposition parties like Free Democrats, Republican Party, UNM, Labor Party, GIRCHI, Paata Burchuladze's State for People, New Rights and New Georgia, as well as the president (the latter was omitted in the edited version), the NGOs warn that with a constitutional majority, the ruling party will be able to amend the Constitution and disrupt the balance of power between the different branches of government. “Call on your supporters to vote for the candidates of the opposition in the second tour of the election in order to avoid a constitutional majority,” the letter reads. The NGOs fear that Georgian Dream may violate the balance of power in the government branches. Spokesperson for the president Eka Mishveladze said that during the entire election campaign, ...

News

Free Democrats leader Alasania may be appointed NSC secretary

by | October 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Irakli Alasania, the former defense minister and leader of the Free Democrats who ‘temporarily left’ politics after his party failed to reach the minimum 5% in the election, may be hired by the president’s administration. According to domestic media,

News

Russian, Turkmen and Ukrainian airlines open new flights out of Tbilisi

by | October 18, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three new airlines are opening flights out of Tbilisi from November: Turkmenistan Airlines, the Ukrainian DART Airlines and Russia’s Pobeda. Turkmenistan Airlines will fly twice weekly (Mon, Thu) to Ashgabad, starting November 2. DART Airlines begins flights

Elections

Georgia to hold second round of parliamentary election Oct 30

by | October 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The date for the second round of Georgia’s parliamentary election has been set to October 30. 50 election districts will vote for single seat candidates for parliament, the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced. Candidates for the ruling GD

Crime

Suspect arrested for blowing up MP’s car days before election

by | October 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was arrested Monday in Georgia, accused of involvement in the blowing up of MP Givi Targamadze’s car just days before the parliamentary election. The man, born in 1976, was arrested as part of the investigation into the explosion

Interviews

Linderman: GD will have a tendency to consolidate power into one-party rule

by | October 17, 2016

Anna Kalandadze of Voice of America's Georgian service discusses results of Georgia's Parliamentary elections, and its importance for country's future dynamics with Laura Linderman, of US Atlantic Council in Washington. Parts of this interview ran on VOA program.

Crime

Escaped burglar arrested in Tbilisi with jewelry from new heist

by | October 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian robber who escaped from a court building in August by feigning illness was caught on Sunday with jewelry from a recent heist. Otar Varamashvili escaped from Rustavi City Court on August 31 by claiming he was ill and running away during

News

31-year-old arrested for attack on transgender woman

by | October 17, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested a man on Sunday who is suspected of having attacked a transgender woman two days before. The suspect is accused of attempted murder. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), the 31-year-old was on probation

News

Transgender woman hospitalized after vicious attack in Tbilisi

by | October 16, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 32-year-old transgender woman was Friday evening severely beaten in Ortachala, a district in the south of Tbilisi. According to Imedi TV, there were two assailants. Her throat was slit. She remains in the emergency ward in a serious condition,

Elections

Six alleged election day troublemakers placed in pre-trial detention

by | October 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Six people who were arrested for participating in the attack  on an election precinct October 8 were placed in pre-trial detention by Rustavi City Court on Friday. A crowd threw stones at and smashed windows at the 48th election precinct ithe a village Kizilajo.

Minorities

Muslims conduct prayer on ruins of mosque in Mokhe

by | October 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Muslims in the village Mokhe in the south of Georgia on Thursday conducted a prayer on the ruins of a mosque which the local government in 2014 declared that it wanted to turn into a culture house. The plans by local Orthodox Christians to appropriate

Elections

Six arrested for the mass unrest in Marneuli on election day

by | October 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia arrested six people on Thursday who are accused of attacking an election precinct in Marneuli in the south of Georgia on election day October 8. The six are arrested for interrupting the work of the local election commission

Economy

Georgian developers plan Sheraton and Radisson in Gudauri

by | October 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s winter resort Gudauri had 127% growth in visitors since last year. Now developers plan a Radisson and a Sheraton hotel there. Malkhaz Kunelauri from the real estate company RED-CO told journalists that the first phase of the planned new hotels

Elections

Police in Georgia arrest a person for causing havoc in election precinct

by | October 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police arrested one person regarding an attack on an election precinct during the election Saturday in Zugdidi, in northwest Georgia. The target of the attack was the 79th precinct, in the village Jikhashkari. Kako Tibua said through his lawyer that he was unlawfully arrested and has started a hunger

Politics

National Movement decides to not boycott parliament

by | October 12, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--After considering a boycott of parliament, the National Movement on Tuesday turned back from the drastic measure and decided to participate in the second round of the election and take their seats in parliament. Some party members wanted

Politics

UNM political council convenes Tuesday to set out post-election path

by | October 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The National Movement plans to convene the party’s political council Tuesday evening to discuss further plans after dismissing the results of the parliamentary election. Some proposed to boycott the second round of the majoritorian elections

News

Mine worker in Tkibuli found dead from apparent suffocation

by | October 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Workers in one of the mines in Tkibuli in western Georgia found a co-worker dead on Friday, apparently from gas poisoning. The accident happened in the Mindeli mine. Workers found the body in the morning as they arrived at work. It looks like 51-year-old Temur Kakauridze

News

National Movement debates whether to boycott parliament

by | October 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A discussion is going on within the National Movement about boycotting parliament, with the one side wanting to start with not participating in the second round of the parliamentary election. Former President Mikheil Saakashvili got involved from

Politics

Buoyed by election result, GD begins pushing for constitutional amendments

by | October 11, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Already before the official election results have been announced, the ruling Georgian Dream party is talking about making two constitutional amendments. Another round of single-seat districts has still not been held, and no-one knows how many members

Elections

Free Democrats leader leaves politics after failing to get into parliament

by | October 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian defense minister Irakli Alasania said Monday that he is quitting politics ‘temporarily’ after his party failed to surpass the 5% threshold in the parliamentary elections. Alasania’s statement came after the Central Election Commission (CEC)

In brief

Confusion over election math: Will Georgia’s third party get into parliament?

by | October 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--There is confusion over how to interpret the results of Saturday's election in Georgia. A CEC spokesperson said Monday that the third party Alliance of Patriots is still below the threshold, but even so, the commission will discuss if it may still be qualified with 4.998%.

Elections

51 election districts will hold second round of parliamentary election

by | October 10, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--51 election districts in Georgia will likely hold a second round of parliamentary election; 18 of them will be in the capital Tbilisi. After 99.92% of votes have been counted, the governing Georgian Dream party has 48.6% in the proportionate system.

Elections

Third party Patriot Alliance is 244 votes from getting into parliament

by | October 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Alliance of Patriots is out of parliament, after it seemed for a few hours it had succeeded in surpassing the minimum threshold. At 3pm, the Alliance was at exactly 5 percent, and seemed qualified to get representatives into the new national assembly as the third party,

Elections

National Movement rallies outside CEC, will challenge election result

by | October 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former first lady Sandra Roelofs, who is running for parliament representing her husband’s party in western Georgia, has disputed the preliminary results which show that she did not win an outright victory. After 82 percent of votes had been

Elections

Preliminary results: Patriot Alliance gets into parliament with 17 votes margin

by | October 9, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three parties are predicted to surpass the 5% percent threshold and make it into parliament, after 82.55% percent of votes have been counted, the Central Election Commission (CEC) said. As the results currently stand, Georgian Dream looks to get 49.26 percent,

News

Exit polls: GD has won the election, UNM came second

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream is predicted as winner of the parliamentary election, based on the preliminary results of two exit polls. In the exit poll by GfK, Georgian Dream will get 39.9 percent, and United National Movement is second with 32.74 percent.

Elections

Georgia deploys special police to voting precinct to put down unrest

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A crowd armed with batons and stones attacked a precinct in Marneuli, a town in south Georgia, allegedly stealing a box of ballot papers. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said police were dispatched to Marneuli’s 48th precinct

News

Saakashvili won’t leave Ukraine, regardless of election outcome

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili says he doesn’t plan to leave Ukraine, where he serves as governor of the Odessa region, no matter what the results of today’s parliament election is. “I won’t abandon my huge plans to help Ukraine,”

Elections

Voter turnout 20% by noon in uncertain Georgian election

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--All election precincts in Georgia opened at 08:00 in the morning, according to Central Election Commission (CEC), and the election is proceeding peacefully. Voter turnout was 19.81 % by 12:00, according to the CEC. Most government officials

Elections

Georgians vote in uncertain parliamentary election

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians go to the polls on Saturday to elect 150 new members of parliament, with no party or bloc likely to win an outright victory. 73 of the new MPs will be majoritarians, while the rest will come from the party lists through a proportional

News

Suspect identified after Tuesday’s car bomb in Tbilisi

by | October 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A suspect has been identified in the case of a car bomb on Tuesday targeting the car of a member of parliament for the National Movement. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said Friday evening that law enforcement bodies searched

Elections

Two UNM activists charged with violence against GD members

by | October 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two National Movement activists have been charged with violence and threats against members of the governing Georgian Dream party at a campaign event in western Georgia a few days ago. The incident happened on October 1

Crime

Policeman’s wife shot in the head, case investigated as suicide attempt

by | October 7, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A policeman’s wife is in hospital in Kutaisi, fighting for her life after being shot in the head with her husband’s gun Thursday evening. Authorities are investigating the case as a suicide attempt. Early media reports indicated that the policeman

News

CEC traces violations in the campaign ad of Georgian conservative party

by | October 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Central Elections Administration (CEC) rejected a plea by major conservative party against the main opposition-leaned TV channel, which cancelled broadcasting its electoral advertisement. CEC ruled that Alliance of Patriots’ video

Elections

Saakashvili’s party rallies ahead of election

by | October 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Three days before Georgians go to the polls, the National Movement on Wednesday rallied their supporters in Tbilisi. Former President Mikheil Saakashvili addressed people from Odessa, Ukraine on a big screen via Skype. He criticized

News

Georgian troops vote in Afghanistan

by | October 6, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian troops serving within NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan cast their ballots on Wednesday, three days prior of the parliamentary elections, which is scheduled on Saturday, Oct. 8.

News

Tbilisi politicians react to last night’s car blast, assign blame

by | October 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian politicians Wednesday reacted to the explosion which blew up of the car of a parliamentarian the night before. Different culprits were singled out but they seemed to agree that the purpose was to affect the outcome of the parliamentary

News

Suspect turns himself in after shooting at political rally

by | October 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia have arrested a person accused of shooting and injuring two persons at a political rally in Gori on October 2.  According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), investigators have determined that the suspect fired shots during the meeting,

News

Georgian MP’s car explodes near Freedom Sq in Tbilisi

by | October 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An apparent car bomb exploded in central Tbilisi Tuesday night, targeting the car of a member of parliament for the National Movement. The car’s owner MP Givi Targamadze was sitting in the front passenger seat as it exploded. He was not seriously injured. Georgia’s deputy interior minister, who was at the scene, said five people were injured by the explosion. Four are hospitalized, and one of them is in grave condition. In a phone interview, Targamadze said he believes the explosion was the result of a deliberate act. He believes that it was a bomb placed in the rear of the car. The rear section of the car is completely destroyed. Targamadze said it happened as he left the office. He was in the car with his driver. “I left the office. I moved to the Kolmeurneoba Square. At first, I couldn’t understand what was happening. I thought that someone was shooting at us. When we came to better consciousness we left the car. Me and my driver do not have a lot of injuries,” he told Rustavi 2. The UNM party figure also said ...

Politics

Saakashvili mocks Ivanishvili: ‘You are destined for defeat’

by | October 4, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvil has mocked his main opponent former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, saying he was destined for defeat in the October 8 election. Saakashvili, who is governor of Odessa in Ukraine,

Politics

Two wounded in shooting at political rally in Georgia

by | October 3, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A former Georgian defense minister claims he was the target when shots were fired during an election rally in Gori, a town 60km northwest of Tbilisi, on Sunday. Irakli Okruashvili was meeting voters in the town where he is a candidate

News

Tourism jumps by one fifth, statistics

by | October 3, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia had a 19.5 percent growth in tourism in the nine months in 2016, according to the data released by National Tourism Administration on Monday.

Youth

Georgia’s Constitutional Court strikes down tough marijuana law

by | October 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Constitutional Court on Thursday struck down a law that has landed many young people in jail for years for using marijuana. The court abolished part of article 273 of the Criminal code, which mandated jail sentence for anyone caught

News

Pope Francis speaks of the importance of women during mass in Tbilisi

by | October 1, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Pope Francis on Saturday conducted a mass on Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in the center of the Georgian capital Tbilisi. In his sermon, the head of the Roman Catholic Church spoke about the importance of women in Georgia, quoting Mother Teresa,

Investigative reports

Georgian Lottery Will Take Chance on New License Holder

by | October 1, 2016

A new company will get the license to organize the Georgia national lottery. The Ministry of Finance has announced a tender to award the license and will accept offers until December 12.

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