Politics

Popular TV host to represent opposition UNM in Tbilisi mayoral race

by | June 26, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s main opposition party is hoping that a popular news anchor will bring it back to power in the politically important position of Tbilisi mayor. The nomination of Zaal Udumashvili, host of the main news program on Georgia’s largest TV channel Rustavi 2,

Legal reform

Georgian president slams blueprint for new Constitution

by | June 24, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--President Giorgi Margvelashvili rejects a draft new Constitution presented by the ruling GD government because it is not based on a consensus. “The entire Georgian society believes we need a consensus document, but Georgian Dream

Media

Azerbaijani RFE/RL journalist detained, barred from leaving country

by | June 22, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A journalist at Radio Free Europe’s now closed office in Azerbaijan was detained on Thursday and told that he cannot leave the country. Kamran Mahmudov, a former producer for RFE/RL, was detained at the border on the way into Georgia and taken to the

Opinion

Helmut Kohl was a great friend of Georgia

by | June 20, 2017

Helmut Kohl, in hand with Edward Shevardnadze, Michael Gorbachev, and George H.W. Bush, convinced Europe to rise to the occasion and believe that history can progress, that unity and national sovereignty can go hand-in-hand, and that conflict is not inevitable when Germany is united.

Legal reform

Georgia’s ruling GD party demurring on electoral reform

by | June 19, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s ruling party will defer until 2024 to fulfill one of its main promises: to overhaul an election system that has favored the incumbent force for decades. The system of single-mandate districts, so-called majoritarians, was supposed to have been phased out

Economy

Georgia’s parliament approves immediate halt in sale of farm land to foreigners

by | June 17, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian parliament decided Friday to declare a temporary ban on the sale of agricultural lands to aliens until a constitutional ban comes into force. 87 MPs voted in favor of the amendment to the Law on Ownership of Agricultural Land, amid fierce pressure

News

European Parliament calls on Georgia to investigate journalist’s disappearance

by | June 16, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The EU Parliament calls on Georgia to thoroughly investigate the disappearance of an Azerbaijani investigative journalist in the center of Tbilisi two weeks ago. MEPs further urge Baku to immediately release Afgan Mukhtarli and drop all charges.

Youth

Rappers whose arrest sparked review of drug policy released on bail

by | June 13, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Appeals Court in Georgia released on bail two rappers whose controversial arrest on drug charges may have hastened a review of the drug policy. The court released the two on bail Monday after their arrest June 10 for possession of between 1.5 and 2.3 grams

Youth

PM responds to groundswell of support for Georgia’s jailed rappers

by | June 11, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's prime minister promised to soften the country's drug policy Saturday evening as a large crowd gathered in the capital Tbilisi in support of two detained rappers who claim drugs were planted on them by police as revenge for a music video.

Environment

Tbilisi on edge as strong rain brings fear of ‘another 2015’

by | June 11, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Strong rain with hail hit Tbilisi and some other parts of Georgia on Saturday, causing damage to cars, infrastructure and crops. As some Tbilisians feared a repeat of the tragic flooding in 2015, the police blocked Vake-Saburtalo Road in Tbilisi following advice

News

Azerbaijani MP claims Georgian intel collaborated on journalist’s abduction

by | June 10, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of Azerbaijan’s parliament claims Georgian and Azerbaijani intelligence agencies collaborated on abducting a journalist in Tbilisi and send him back to Baku to face jail. Elman Nasirov, a member of Azerbaijan’s national assembly Mili Meclis,

News

Two rappers caught with ecstasy claim police planted drugs on them

by | June 10, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The arrest of two rappers for drug crime in Georgia on Friday adds fuel to criticism against the country’s law enforcement agencies, which are already under fire for suspected involvement in the mysterious abduction out of the country of an Azerbaijani journalist eleven days ago.

Media

CEO of Georgia’s embattled opposition television station resigns

by | June 9, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rustavi 2 director general Nika Gvaramia resigns. Gvaramia's resignation was reported yesterday by several Georgian media outlets and confirmed Friday morning by one of the TV company’s editors who spoke to DFWatch on condition of anonymity.

Legal reform

Georgia’s ruling party bans sale of agricultural land to foreigners

by | June 9, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s ruling party has decided to ban the sale of agricultural land to foreigners by adding a clause to the Constitution. PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced Thursday that a passage will be added to the Constitution to ban the sale of land

Sport

Georgian world boxing champion arrested in the US

by | June 9, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A Georgian world boxing champion has been arrested in the United States along with a martial arts practicioner, also from Georgia, for alleged ties to a Russian crime syndicate. Avtandil Khurtsidze, who currently holds a World Boxing Organization middleweight title,

In brief

Earthquake of magnitude 5.1 in eastern Georgia

by | June 8, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--An earthquake of magnitude 5.1 rattled Georgia late Wednesday evening with only minor damage reported in one village. The quake occurred at about 10.30pm with the epicenter near Dedoplistskaro in Kakheti, 100km east of Tbilisi,

Politics

TV news anchor may join race for new Tbilisi mayor

by | June 7, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--A news anchor on Georgia’s biggest private television channel has confirmed that he may run for mayor of Tbilisi as a candidate for the biggest opposition party UNM. The entry of Zaal Udumashvili, host of the evening news on Rustavi 2,

Media

Protesters put bags over their heads as parliament silent on Mukhtarli case

by | June 6, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian journalists covered their heads with plastic sacks during a meeting of the parliament’s human rights committee on Tuesday to protest the abduction of an Azerbaijani investigative journalist in Tbilisi. But the committee did not discuss

Politics

Georgia’s ruling party to tap energy minister as new Tbilisi mayor

by | June 6, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling party in Georgia is expected to name Energy Minister Kakhi Kaladze as its candidate for new Tbilisi mayor, to replace the incumbent Davit Narmania. Georgian Dream MPs and members of government met on Sunday behind closed

News

Georgian leaders send condolences to victims of London attacks

by | June 4, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s president and prime minister have expressed their condolences to the families of victims of the recent London terror attack, which left seven dead and over 48 injured. “I am deeply outraged over the brutal terrorist incidents in #London.

Opinion

Zbigniew Brzezinski will be missed

by | June 2, 2017

To anyone close enough to speak with him in first name terms, he was Zbig. A typical American habit of kerbingconsonant-rich names that echo history to sound short, familiar, and approachable.

News

Georgian authorities deny involvement in abduction of Azerbaijani journalist

by | June 1, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's head of government Thursday denied that his country's authorities had been involved when a journalist was abducted three days earlier in Tbilisi and delivered into the hands of Azerbaijani police for criminal prosecution.

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