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Used cars is Georgia’s export article no 1

By | January 4th, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Used cars has become Georgia’s most important export article, accounting for 21% of all exports in 2011. Second and third are ferroalloys and fertilizers. The country’s exports rose by 40% in 2011, compared to the previous year. Georgia ended the year 2011 with an average inflation level of 8.5. In 2010 and [...]

Ask for solidarity

By | January 4th, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Companies distributing newspapers in Tbilisi are calling for their colleagues who want to participate City Hall’s project ‘1000 Booths’ not to sumit bids for locations where there were newspaper kiosks before. Planeta Forte, Matsne and Elva Servis released a common statement regarding the auction, which is held today and will continue tomorrow. In [...]

Hijacked Tbilisi TV cut from sat link

By | January 3rd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A TV station in the Georgian capital has had its satellite link cut. The studios of Maestro TV were taken over November 30 by a businessman who held management rights to it, after which journalists and staff fled the premises. Since then, Meastro's satellite link has been used by the businessman to show [...]

Government to ‘edit’ laws in Georgia

By | January 3rd, 2012|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government in Georgia has given itself the right to edit the wording of laws after they are passed in order to avoid misunderstandings. Recently a new law brought democracy groups to the streets to protest, but afterwards lawmakers claimed that the contentious part of the law was based on misinterpretation. The law [...]

Eleventh Georgian soldier dies in Afghanistan

By | January 3rd, 2012|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Corporal Besik Niniashvili was serving in Helmand province with the Third Infantry Brigade’s 31th light infantry battalion within the frameworks of the ISAF mission. According to a statement from the Interior Ministry Niniashvili was killed when a mine exploded. He had the medal of Military Merit, an honorary diploma, a medal for combat [...]

New party of billionaire in February

By | December 31st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili plans on setting up a new political party in the beginning of February, DF Watch was told by the Irakli Alasania, leader of the Free Democrats, one of four parties are affiliated with Ivanishvili. Since the businessman lost his Georgian citizenship he is prevented from being involved in politics, [...]

Prisoners pardoned

By | December 31st, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The President pardoned 114 convicts today, according to the Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance. 75 prisoners, four of whom are women, will leave jail, while 13 prisoners had their sentence halved and 26 had their suspended sentence lifted. The commission to review early release reviewed cases it had received from local councils [...]

Where did the newsstands go?

By | December 30th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Representatives of the media, press distributors and other supporters gathered Friday in front of the Holiday Inn at the center of Tbilisi to once again protest against the situation created around the newspapers and press distributing kiosks. ‘We light, Saakashvili darkens’ – this was the message written on fliers that rally participants were [...]

“Retroactive law” was a misunderstanding

By | December 30th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government says that the political partners of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili won’t have to return the money received from his companies for the last two months. Pavle Kublashvili (pictured), chairman of the Parliament Judiciary Issues Committee claimed this December 29 at the special briefing in parliament. The issue came to the public’s attention [...]

It’s magic! Legal somersault in Tbilisi

By | December 30th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Lawmakers in the Georgian capital seem to have changed a law after it was signed by the president and entered into the formal record. The law raised a chorus of objections from activists who said it violated the constitution and international conventions. Now it appears that the offending paragraph of the law has [...]

Why, Mr President?

By | December 30th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Democracy activists and rights groups descended on president Saakashvili's palace in Tbilisi's Avlabari district Thursday to protest against his signing of a bill into law. Frustration and disbelief has been the dominating reaction among political circles after this became known, and in a spontaneous show of emotion, activists took to the streets outside [...]

Georgia’s richest could become stateless

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili, listed by Forbes as the world’s 185th richest, could become stateless, after today renouncing his French citizenship too. A little over two months ago the financier turned politician held triple French-Russian-Georgian citizenship, but after getting entangled in politics he has had to hand in two of them to [...]

New details about who owns Georgian TV stations

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian TV stations have released information about who owns them. It has long been a general impression, but hard to prove, that Georgian TV stations are controlled by the government. The information substantiates these suspicions and shows to what extent persons around the country’s president have a stake in the broadcasting media. This [...]

Prisoner torture ignored, claims MP

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Giorgi Tsagareishvili, chairman of the faction Unity for Justice and the member of the Free Democrats accuses the government of prisoner torture and demands that the Chief Prosecutor’s office investigates the torturing of a 22 year old prisoner. He told reporters at a press conference that the director and a security officer at [...]

US embassy’s statement

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

The US Embassy has released a statement regarding the changes to the Georgian Electoral Code and the legislation regarding campaign financing. DF Watch publishes it unchanged: “The United States supports free, fair and reliable elections in Georgia. Our attention is focused on the electoral process. We do not support any specific party or candidate. In this [...]

President signed controversial campaign finance law

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian president has signed the law about political associations of citizens, which imposes restrictions on campaign financing. The amendment includes restrospective powers, which are prohibited by international conventions and the Georgian constitution. This means that the law has come into force and political parties which have received financing which until now was [...]

Fighting in Afghanistan for Georgia’s Security

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: News, Opinion, Security|Tags: , |

Georgia has increased its military presence in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan making it the biggest non-NATO contributor to ISAF operations. The Georgian parliament supported this decision and the Christian Democratic Movement of Georgia voted in favor. This was a well thought-out decision designed for making Georgia a part of a global security network. [...]

The Flanks That Should Be Well Defended

By | December 29th, 2011|Categories: News, Opinion, Security|Tags: |

Pressure for democratic transformation and modernization challenges Georgia from three main “flanks”: Internal stability – that was not a matter for real concern for President Saakashvili until the public unrest in 2007; imperatives of the European and Euro-Atlantic Integration; a proper Ambition and the promises of the ruling party to the public. Difficult to say, which [...]

New law illegal, say rights groups

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Several authoritative non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia consider the retrospective powers of a new law amendment unconstitutional and are asking the president to veto it. The amendment imposes sanctions on political parties that have received money via private companies during the last few months, which was and still is legal until January 1. [...]

Opposition must return tycoon’s gifts

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The political partners of the Georgian tycoon turned opposition leader will have to return the money they received from him. Otherwise, they must give it to the state. This is the consequence of a new bill approved by parliament on Wednesday at the third and last hearing. The final version of the bill [...]

Gov’t postpones media monitoring debate

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The ruling party in Georgia has postponed until spring to decide how to monitor the media before next election in ten months time. If things stay the same, the national TV networks will have the same opportunities as last time. During the local elections in 2010, media monitoring was conducted with the support [...]

Access to media crucial in 2012 election

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: Elections, Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - As a bundle of election related bills are up for final review in parliament, it became clear Tuesday that the ruling party is against a proposal prepared by media workers about how to conduct monitoring of media fairness during the election campaign. The proposal concerns changes to the Election Code and the law [...]

NGOs warn: unfair election system

By | December 28th, 2011|Categories: Elections, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tuesday Georgia's new election system should have been passed in parliament, but the package of bills was stopped in the last minute by a group of rights activists, who warned of potential problems. The groups are sounding the alarm that the new election system does not create a level playing field. Several experts [...]

Court hands president partial rebuke

By | December 27th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Court has declared partially invalid a decree issued by President Mikheil Saakashvili on October 11 regarding a businessman and his wife’s citizenship. The court said the president had acted illegally when he issued the decree which revoked the citizenships of the couple, but only in dealing with the businessman’s wife, Ekaterine [...]

Ivanishvili appeals court ruling

By | December 27th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A businessman has decided to appeal a court decision given today which upholds president Mikheil Saakashvili's decision to rob him of his Georgian citizenship. Bidzina Ivanishvili declared October 7 that he would use his significant wealth and influence to remove Saakashvili from power. Four days later the president revoked his citizenship, thereby blocking [...]

Citizenship decision today

By | December 27th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Will a city court in Georgia dare to go against the country’s president? By Tuesday afternoon this should be known, as Tbilisi City Court prepares to announce its ruling in a citizenship case. President Mikheil Saakashvili October 11 revoked a businessman’s citizenship, four days after the latter had declared he would mobilize his [...]

Journalists compensated for May 26 violence

By | December 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Three of the journalists who were beaten and shot by police on May 26, 2011, will be fully compensated for health expenses and partly have their lost equipment compensated. Tbilisi City Court announced the decision Monday. In addition four media companies will be compensated. Batumelebi Ltd will be fully compensated for lost and [...]

Ivanishvili renounces Russian citizenship

By | December 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili has renounced his Russian citizenship. This comes while there is only one day left until a court ruling about his Georgian citizenship. Ivanishvili held triple Georgian-Russian-French citizenship until recently, but is now only a French citizen. His Georgian citizenship was revoked by president Mikheil Saakashvili shortly [...]

Turkey plans to divert water from Tbilisi river

By | December 26th, 2011|Categories: Environment, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The river which runs through Tbilisi might have its waters levels lowered, because a Turkish power company wants to tap its energy higher up. The Mtkvari, Georgia’s largest river, may be substantially weakened. This could cause problems not only for Georgians, but also in neighboring Azerbaijan, where it feeds the main drinking water [...]

Decision in journalist beatings case

By | December 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Court will today announce its decision about compensation for the journalists who were beaten and shot by police on May 26. Journalist Beka Sivsivadze (photo) was hit by almost 40 rubber bullets, but is not part of the claim. Three journalists and four media units October 4 went to court to [...]

Warns of destruction of historic square

By | December 25th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A large crowd gathered Saturday on Gudiashvili square in Tbilisi to protest against City Hall’s plans to modernize it. The rally participants demand that City Hall organizes a public meeting about the plans to reassure people that the square is not in danger. They claim the project has not been agreed with society. [...]

Who’s worse? The foreign hand in Georgian politics

By | December 25th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian opposition parliamentarian who asked authorities to map out how opposition parties receive their funding, has presented a list showing that the ruling party of President Mikheil Saakashvili is also being financed from abroad, including from Russia. The outspoken MP Giorgi Tsagareishvili’s request to the country’s chief prosecutor was originally meant to [...]

Georgia’s new national security concept

By | December 24th, 2011|Categories: News, Security|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Givi Targamadze, chairman of Parliament's Defense and Security Committee, states that the government should use the national security concept as a daily action document. He made this statement on December 23 in parliament as the National Security Concept was approved. This is the second security concept in the history of the country. The [...]

Theatres to reject opposition financing

By | December 24th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - From next year, Georgian theatres will refuse to accept help from billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, culture minister Nika Rurua said on December 23. Artists are saying the government forced theatre directors to make this decision. The directors have not commented. Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili has been supporting the development of Georgian culture for years. The [...]

A catalogue of brutality

By | December 24th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - In spite of early reports of three dead, five people actually died when police raided and dispersed a peaceful anti-government protest in Tbilisi on May 26, 2011. The horrors visited upon those who were there is the topic of a lengthy report published Friday by the Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA). GYLA's report [...]

Want strengthened protection of media

By | December 23rd, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Editor of newspaper Rezonansi Eliso Chapidze (pictured) and a group of media workers Friday submitted a bill to parliament, asking for strengthened protection of journalists ahead of next year's parliamentary eleciton. The authors of the bill asks to create the conditions so journalists can work in accordance with international standards. One of their [...]

Media monitoring lacks opposition’s trust

By | December 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Ten months before Georgia is to hold parliamentary elections, there is still distrust towards how the national TV networks will do their job. The government announced Thursday that it wants to change the way media monitoring is done. Chariman of parliament's legal affairs committee Pavle Kublashvili says there is a discussion to shift [...]

Last chance to adjust election system

By | December 23rd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Today several laws are up for revision which will change Georgia's election system and set the ground rules for the parliamentary election in October 2012. This will be the second hearing of the changes in the constitution, the electoral code and the law on political associations. Included in the bill are new rules [...]

Claims president had conflict of interest

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili had a conflict of interest when revoking a businessman’s citizenship, lawyers argued in Tbilisi City Court Thursday. The case concerns Bidzina Ivanishvili, a popular financier, who October 7 declared that he wanted to run in next year’s parliamentary election. Four days later, Saakashvili personally signed a decree which means [...]

Georgia to allow conscientious objection

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Citizens of Georgia will be allowed to apply for an alternative service to the military, based on religious, ethical and other grounds. The change comes after a ruling by the Constitutional Court, which decided in favor of the country’s Public Defender, who had sued the parliament for being in breach of the constitution. [...]

Battling poverty through pearly whites

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, is embarking on a bold new plan to repair the teeth of all the elderly in his country. “Let’s fill, insert and polish the teeth on all, so that they will be in a good mood and can smile all the time,” Saakashvili said as he announced his [...]

Martens supports Georgia’s ruling party

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Belgian veteran politician Wilfried Martens says he supports the party of Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, the National Movement. Wilfried said this Wednesday on a news show on one of the Georgian national networks. During their conversation, President Saakashvili said his movement is not dependent on persons, and that he will keep on as [...]

Businessman has a backup plan

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The businessman who is trying to claim power in Georgia has a plan for what to do in case he doesn't get back his citizenship. One of his lawyers, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, said this Wednesday. He was answering a questions from a representative of the Estonian embassy, who wanted to know what Mr Ivanishvili [...]

Citizenship case continues today

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Court 10 am today continued hearing the case of businessman Bidzina ivanishvili and his wife Ekaterina Khvedelidze. The couple are asking the court to declare invalid a decree by president Mikheil Saakashvili which revoked their citizenship. This made it illegal for Mr Ivanishvili to run in next year's parliamentary election. Polls [...]

Human rights groups targeted in Georgian power game

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government in Georgia is planning to make it illegal for human rights groups to let their criticism of the situation be used in party politics. If they violate the rule, their funding will be restricted. Businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili is doing well in the polls ahead of Georgia’s election next year, but is [...]

Georgian newspapers are being strangled

By | December 21st, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - One of the chain of newspapers outlets in Tbilisi tell of a more than 80% drop in sales. The reason is that city hall has physically torn down most of their kiosks. The press association warns that that this could kill free press in the country. This was the gloomy forecast laid out at [...]

6.2% growth in 2011

By | December 21st, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia will have 6.2% growth in the economy in 2011. But the prices will have increased 10.5%. In the third quarter of 2011, Georgia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 7.5% compared to last year's third quarter, and amounted to 6 203 million lari by current prices, which is nearly 38 billion US [...]

Investment climate used to justify weak worker security

By | December 21st, 2011|Categories: Economy, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian workers have almost no job security due to a weak labor code. This is a conscious policy choice by the government, justified by the need to attrack investors. The main problem Georgian workers face is that an employer can fire an employee at any time without explanation. That’s one of the findings [...]

Media picketed president’s palace

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian media workers Monday continued the campaign to raise awareness of the pressure they are coming under on several fronts. Employees of an evicted TV station joined newspaper staff to picket the president’s residence in Avlabari in the center of Tbilisi. Many people wore a red tie symbolizing that the media doesn’t have [...]

Controversial bill scrapped

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia will not increase the number of members of parliament. Raising the number of MPs was one of several controversial proposed changes to the election system as the country heads into an election year. Pavle Kublashvili, chairman of parliament’s judiciary committee told journalists that the plan has been scrapped after a meeting with [...]

Authorities’ urgency scrutinized in citizenship case

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The authorities in Georgia moved with lightening speed and acted on assumptions when revoking a businessman’s citizenship right after he had announced a new opposition movement. A court in Tbilisi today continued to hear the case of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, a newcomer to politics who scores roughly as high as the ruling party [...]

Parlament orders inquest into businessman’s finances

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An opposition lawmaker aligned with Bidzina Ivanishvili calls for the government to go through the financial activities of the billionaire in order to clear up accusations leveled against him. The request came Tuesday from Giorgi Tsagareishvili, member of the Free Democrats and chairman of the parliamentary faction Unity for Justice. He was responding [...]

Uphold the law!

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The evicted Georgian TV journalists are keeping alive an emergency schedule, while taking to the streets again today to ask for solidarity. Maestro currently shows the letters “SOS” continuously at the bottom of the screen and runs an ad in which their most recognizable profiles tell authorities to give them back their equipment [...]

Will businessman get a fair hearing?

By | December 20th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - At 2 pm today the courtcase which could decide Georgia’s future continues. The question before Tbilisi City Court is whether to declare invalid a decree issues by President Mikhail Saakashvili. The decree robbed Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili of his citizenship, thereby making it illegal for him to enter politics. His lawyer appealed the [...]

Media to have common defense

By | December 19th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An attack on one is an attack on all. That’s the principle for a new organization formed today by heads and representatives of several Georgian media units. Within one week a working group will prepare a set of rules for how to coordinate a common response when attacks happen. The initiative comes in [...]

Promise: no Putin scenario in Georgia

By | December 19th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Two of Mikheil Saakashvili's ministers say he won’t cling on to power as prime minister after he steps down in 2013, but the president himself refuses to give a definite answer. Prime Minister Grigol Vashadze said it is not going to happen, while Defense Minister Bacho Akhalaia went even further and promised it [...]

President Saakashvili, don’t kill the press!

By | December 19th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Today many Georgian newspapers are running the same slogan on their frontpage: "President Saakashvili, don't kill the press!" The reason is a new plan by Tbilisi City Hall to remove newspaper sellers from the whole capital and put in place a new system of kiosks. There is doubt whether the new kiosks will [...]

Ethics charter remains unchanged

By | December 19th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - For the second year in a row, the organization behind a Georgian journalistic ethics charter was unable to pass a revised charter because too few members showed up. At its third annual session on Saturday, held in Tbilisi Courtyard Marriot, three new members were accepted and the chairman was reelected. The changes which [...]

WTO signed Russia up as member

By | December 17th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - After an eighteen year long struggle, Russia on Friday finally signed the document which formally makes it a member of the World Trade Organization. The ceremony took place in Geneva with Elvira Nabiullina, Russia’s Minister of Economic Development, sitting down with Pascal Lamy, head of WTO, to sign the membership agreement. For the [...]

Rubin: Georgia should listen to CoE advice

By | December 17th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Eric Rubin, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs says that the United States supports Georgia’s aspirations towards integration with Euro Atlantic structures and NATO and is working on forming a common position regarding Georgia among the alliance member countries at NATO’s Chicago summit next May. But before the [...]

Georgia sends extra battalion to Afghanistan

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili Friday asked the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for permission to send one more infantry battalion. The decision requires the approval of parliament. Early indications are he is likely to get it at a special session next week. One battalion normally means 600-650 soldiers, but the government has yet [...]

Solidarity!

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Journalists working for an embattled Georgian TV station today called for solidarity and announced that they will found a new media unit. The rally took place in front of a local police building on Nutsubidze Plateau, not far from the center of Tbilisi, and the main demand is that they be allowed to [...]

‘The truth will always win’

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Irakli Alasania, the leader of the Free Democrats and front man of the strongest opposition bloc in Georgia, hits back at ‘fabrications’ spread by the country’s ‘government-controlled media’ about them being pro-Russian. The Free Democrats and the Republican Party are the two groups billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili has formed a loose partnership with in [...]

‘Just days left’ of exiled Maestro

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The staff of an independent TV station in Georgia are keeping alive its broadcasts from a radio studio, as its former producer warns that there are only days left until they get cut from the airwaves. “Maybe there are just days left for us to broadcast. The implementation of Imedi 2 enters a [...]

New parliament ‘better than Strasbourg and Brussels’

By | December 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian Minister of Regional Development is sure that the new Georgian parliament building (pictured) will be better than parliament buildings in Strasbourg and Brussels. Currently Georgia’s parliament is housed in the old historic building on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi. Following a presidential decision which made changes to the constitution, the assembly will [...]

‘Georgia’s C-SPAN’ had filming interrupted

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An opposition lawmaker has accused a Georgian politics channel of having been pressured by the government to stop the filming of a political meeting. A lawmaker claims that the work of the public "C-SPAN" like channel in Georgia was interrupted by government intervention. Dimitri Lortkipanidze of the parliamentary faction Unity for Justice said [...]

Football star explains why he left

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Public figures continue coalescing around a Georgian billionaire businessman who recently decided to go into politics and a few days ago officially established a new movement called Georgian Dream. At the movement’s launch ceremony in Tbilisi Concert Hall December 11, a famous Georgian football (soccer) player announced that he is leaving the national [...]

Tabula steps up pressure on TI

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian magazine is increasing the pressure on Transparency International and asks its headquarters to cut one the chapters in a report. Tabula has sent a statement to the US ambassador, the director of USAID, and representatives of IREX, and even to the head office of Transparency International in Berlin, asking to have retracted a [...]

New protests in Tskhinvali today

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The opposition leader Alla Dzhioyeva in Georgia’s breakaway republic South Ossetia is calling for supporters to return and continue the protest against the cancelled election results. Dzhioyeva Sunday called off her demonstrations on Tskhinvali’s main square, and asked on supporters to go home. It seemed for a few days that an agreement between [...]

‘Ashton to probe Ivanishvili case’

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is going to confront the Georgian government about the case of a businessman who is struggling to establish a political movement. Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili has been subject to a number of misfortunes at the hands of the authorities after he declared his wish to [...]

Opposition politician’s son’s beaten

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An oppposition parliamentarian says the physical attack against his son was politically motivated. Giorgi Tsagareishvili, representive of the Free Democrats and head of the parliamentary faction Unity for Justice, told DFWatch that his 19 year old son, Zurab, was attacked on the street by strangers and beaten. The attack took place late at [...]

Warns of Russian border raid

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian parliamentarian warns that a statement from Russia's chief security adviser could signal Russian military action of the kind that took place in 2002. Giorgi Targamadze, representative of the parliamentary opposition and a member of parliament’s Trust Group, calls for the government to pay serious attention to accusations made by the Russian Security Council [...]

Strong opposition bloc being formed in Georgia

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili is to form an election bloc and aims at running in next year’s parliamentary election in Georgia. His allies are Irakli Alasania, leader of the Free Democrats, and Davit Usupashvili, leader of the Republican party, Ivanishvili’s press office told Dfwatch. Several polls indicate that if the bloc survives until [...]

Demands censorship accusation retracted

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: News|

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian weekly magazine wants Transparency International to retract parts of a report which criticizes it for being too cozy with the government. TI said Tuesday that the media in Georgia are subject to indirect censorship through control over the advertisement sector. Control is exerted by a network of friends headed by the [...]

Journalist claims Ivanishvili censored her

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A journalist working for the Georgian online television Presage.tv has left her job, saying businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili pressured her to write laudatory stories about him. “I left the Pressatv.ge, which Misha [President Mikheil Saakashvili] couldn’t destroy but Bidzina [Ivanishvili] has put it in his pocket,” Rusudan Mumladze wrote on her Facebook page yesterday. [...]

How Georgia’s media is censored

By | December 14th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian media is at the mercy of a murky network of friends that extends into both government and the private sector, used for exerting political influence over what is being reported. This monopoly is getting worse, as it is about to grab the newspaper sector too, which has been the only real free [...]

Criticizes prisoner mistreatment

By | December 13th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Georgia’s ombudsman has published a new report which lays out the situation in the country’s detention centers, saying the situation remains problematic. The report was prepared by a team working under the ombudsmann’s office, tasked with carrying out Georgia’s obligations under a United Nations convention to monitor the situation in all detention facilities in order to [...]

Joint statement regarding the situation in Russia

By | December 13th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

The Foreign Relations Committee and the Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee of Georgia’s parliament has made a joint statement regarding the situation in Russia. DFWatch here publishes the statement unchanged.   Joint Statement of the Foreign Relations Committee and the Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee of the Parliament of Georgia on the Situation in Russia Whereas, [...]

Objections ignored about party financing

By | December 13th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Another surprise bill about election reform made its way to parliament Monday, making it clear that the government intends to ignore objections from a broad section of society when it comes to party financing. Legal persons in Georgia will be prohibited from financing political parties. Only banks will be able to offer parties [...]

Claims judge is partial

By | December 13th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Lawyers representing a Georgian businessman and his wife twice asked the judge to be taken off a case which could decide the country's future because they think the judge is partial in favor of the defendant. Their request was overruled. Judge Shota Getsadze Monday reviewed the appeal of lawyers representing Bidzina Ivanishvili and Ekaterine [...]

Journalists get compensation for May 26 injuries

By | December 13th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s Interior Ministry will pay compensation to journalists who went to court for injuries they suffered when police dispersed a peaceful demonstration on May 26 this year. Today Tbilisi City Court reviewed the appeal of the case of journalists from different Georgian media units who asked for compensation for injures to themselves and [...]

Justice, hope, unity

By | December 12th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili says the time has come for ‘real Euro-Atlantic integration and not an imitation of the way to Europe.’ The statement came at Sunday’s launch party in the Tbilisi Concert Hall for the new movement called Georgian Dream. At his first press conference November 1 Ivanishvili touched on the [...]

Late PM’s brother: Ivanishvili gives us new hope

By | December 12th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The brother and widow of one of Georgia’s most popular politicians in the early 2000s were both planning to go to Bidzina Ivanishvili’s launch party for the Georgian Dream movement Sunday. “I will go to the launch party as a citizen who is worried about current events in the country. I am pleased [...]

Tskhinvali protest continues

By | December 11th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The opposition in South Ossetia won't call off their demonstration on the main square, because they claim the leadership didn't honor an agreement from Friday night. Saturday the man who has lead the region for the last ten years, Eduard Kokoity, announced his resignation as promised, but at the same time made it [...]

New opposition leader launches movement

By | December 11th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Over a thousand people enjoyed a sunny Tbilisi today outside the old Philharmonic, where a new opposition movement is being launched at 3 pm by the businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili. Interpressnews reports that many well-known faces have been spotted in the masses of people registering to be let into the hall. Among them are [...]

Police and defense get a fifth of 2012 budget

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Defense and police get 19 % of the total state budget next year. This represents a quarter of direct appropriations to state bodies. Revenues are expected to be 6 839 399 400 Georgian lari, while expences are calculated to be 6 528 243 300 lari. Revenue from taxes is given as 6 300 000 000, grants 239 399 400 [...]

Rules drawn up for 2012 election

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Gradually the ground rules for next year’s election are being laid as parliament has begun a new round of discussion about election reform. It comes earlier than expected, because recommendations from the Council of Europe (CoE) came sooner than the December 17 deadline, in the form of a working draft published on the [...]

South Ossetian leader resigns

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity today resigned as part of a deal with the opposition which also allows its leader to run in the breakaway republic's rescheduled election in March. Eduard Kokoity, the de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway republic South Ossetia, today announced his resignation . Acting president will be the current [...]

Warns against new definition of ‘refugee’

By | December 9th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The pressure group Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) warns that a new, narrower definition of what it means to be a refugee could expose people to danger. GYLA is appealing to parliament regarding a new bill initiated by the government which makes changes to the law about Internally Displaced Persons – Refugees, saying [...]

Knife attack as negotiations are stalled

By | December 9th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Demonstrations are continuing on Tskhinvali’s main square, as the negotiations are stalled. Yesterday evening, a Russian news agency reported that one official was stabbed with a knife during a meeting on the square. The injured, defense employee Soslan Gabuev, received a wound to his chest and was taken to the hospital. The former [...]

End of one party dominance

By | December 9th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgians are discussing how to read the first polls done after a popular businessman decided to join politics. The polls differ drastically, which has lead many to distrust the results. According to one of them, 26.1% of the Georgian population want the newcomer Bidzina Ivanishvili as Prime Minister from 2013. 24.2% of the [...]

Shooting in Tskhinvali

By | December 9th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Six cars and a bus were shot at in Tskhinvali last night, according to the news agency Pirveli. The cars were on the capital's central square, where supporters of presidential candidate Alla Dzhioyeva have been holding out since November 30 to claim victory in the election, which was annulled the previous day. The [...]

Decisive citizenship case postponed

By | December 8th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A court case which could decide the future of Georgia has been postponed due to a judge’s illness. Georgian billionaire and opposition politician Bidzina Ivanishvili was told Thursday that his and his wife’s appeal about their revoked citizenship has been postponed until December 12, because the judge is ill. The final ruling in the [...]

Solution closer in Tskhinvali stand-off

By | December 8th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Vice speaker of parliament in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia says the current president Eduard Kokoity must resign and the region should be headed by the so-called Prime Minister Vadim Brovtsev. “As the term of president Kokoity has expired, he can no longer perform his duties as president. He should resign, and the [...]

Kidney operated prisoner beaten, but in “satisfactory condition”

By | December 8th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The prison ministry in Georgia says about a prisoner with kidney problems who was beaten before and after his operation, that ‘the patient's health condition is satisfactory’. In a rare exception, the ministry Wednesday publicly made comments to a case about suspected prisoner abuse. The statement was their first comment about the case [...]

Poll: Georgian businessman could win

By | December 8th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgians might elect political newcomer Bidzina Ivanishvili if given the option, but the first polls after he launched his campaign differ significantly. Two polls disagree over newcomer Bidzina Ivanishvili's chances in the presidential competition. One shows him second, another shows he will trounce the ruling party's most likely candidate 32 to 13 per [...]

‘Georgia’s authorities plotting to bankrupt opposition bank’

By | December 8th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An opposition parliamentarian claims that the government of Georgia is involved in a scheme to force a billionaire businessman and political newcomer's bank into bankrupcy. The scheme, as Giorgi Tsagareishvili describes it, involves a combination of legislative changes and a large loan from the businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili's Cartu Bank made with security in [...]

Abkhazia to claim customs tax on Georgian goods

By | December 7th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Alexander Ankvab, the newly elected leader of Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia, says that it’s necessary to establish customs control on the Abkhaz side of the border with Georgia, Russian news agencies report. “It's no secret that in the stores and markets a lot of fruits and vegetables and consumer goods are entering illegally [...]

‘No revolution’: South Ossetian candidate

By | December 7th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Alla Dzhioyeva, the candidate who apparantly won the so-called presidential elections in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia, said today that she does not yet intend to seek political asylum. The comment came after Russian diplomats pointed out that her statement about seeking political asytlum in Russia is meaningless as she is a citizen [...]

Tempers flare over number of MPs

By | December 6th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Two opposition blocs exchanged obscenities in parliament Tuesday over what to do about a controversial bill to increase the number of members of parliament (MPs). Georgia’s parliamentary majority is ready to reconsider the decision to increasing the number of MPs. This was decided Tuesday after a verbal confrontation with the opposition in parliament. [...]

Shelling in Tskhinvali

By | December 6th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tuesday the house of the de facto Prosecutor General of South Ossetia was shelled, as the entire opposition movement is considering to ask for political asylum in Russia. Ria Novosti reported the shelling. There are no reports of injuries. Both South Ossetian authorities and opposition leader Alla Dzhioyeva denies responsibility and appeal for [...]

Think twice, advises CoE about Ivanishvili

By | December 5th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Concil of Europe's special commission about election reform has recommended that Georgia lets Bidzina Ivanishvili run in the elections even without a citizenship in the country. The Venice commission recommends that the Georgian government gives people not having Georgian citizenship an opportunity to get involved in election campaigns. Although this recommendation is [...]

-Orange revolution will fail in Tskhinvali

By | December 5th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway republic South Ossetia, Eduard Kokoity, says what is currently taking place in the region now is an orange revolution, Russian media report. The de facto leader made reference to a reform movement in Ukraine which lead to a peaceful transition of power in 2004, often called [...]

Building a city from scratch

By | December 5th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILSI, DFWatch - Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili wants to build a brand new city on the Black Sea shore near the breakaway region Abkhazia. Saakashvili made this statement in the town of Zugdidi on December 4, close to the border with Abkhazia. “We have decided to establish a great city between Anaklia and Kulev which will [...]

Improved corruption ranking

By | December 4th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - According to the latest ranking from Transparency International, the perceived level of corruption in Georgia has improved since last year. Georgia gets 4.1 points out of ten and receives the 64th place among 183 countries on the ranking list called Corruption Perception Index, which is published by Transparency International. 0 points mean highly [...]

Ossetian opposition to appeal to Supreme Court

By | December 4th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Supreme Court in Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia will Monday decide when to hear the case of Alla Dzhioyeva's supporters, according Atsamaz Bichenov, chairman of the Supreme Court, who is quoted in Russian media. Dzhioyeva supporters are asking the court to recognize Dzhioyeva’s victory in the so-called presidential elections on November 27. [...]

Georgia had real veto power

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - National Security Council Secretary Giga Bokeria, who was involved in the Swiss meditated talks between Russia and Georgia regarding Russia’s WTO membership, claims that Georgia’s Western partners never considered giving Russia WTO membership without Georgia agreeing. He said this December 2 at a session in the Georgian parliament between three committees; the foreign [...]

Georgia is a partner of ‘the civilized world’

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - According to National Security Council Secretary Giga Bokeria ‘Georgia appeared as sensible and flexible partner of the civilized world’ during WTO current negotiations. He made this statement on December 2 on the united session of the foreign relations, Europe integration and diaspora relations committees in parliament. According to him, Russia’s WTO membership will [...]

Switzerland will establish border monitoring

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A new border monitoring force between Georgia and Russia will be put together by Switzerland. Sergi Kapanadze, Georgia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, saidthis in the Georgian parliament Friday at the initiative of himself and National Security Council Secretary Giga Bokeria. Kapanadze has been involved in the Swiss meditated negotiations between Russia and Georgia regarding [...]

Tbilisi TV producer leaves

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Mamuka Glonti, producer in chief and co-founder Maestro TV, has left his post. He announced this on his Facebook page Saturday. Glonti told Interpressnews that they have created  a negative attitude towards him, and he is concerned that this may negatively affect  Maestro's  level of trust. In light of this he believes himself [...]

Georgia pardons Israeli businessmen following deal over pipelines

By | December 3rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia has concluded an advantageous deal with two Israeli businessmen. Simultaneously president Saakashvili pardons Roni Fuchs and Zeev Frenkel, claiming there is no connection with the deal. Following the deal, Georgia will pay only 1/3 of an old claim dating back to the 1990s, thus sparing the state of a 70 million US [...]

‘Clan rivalry’ behind unrest in Tskhinvali

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - National Security Council Secretary Giga Bokeria claims that there is a confrontation between clans in so-called South Ossetia to become the Kremlin favorite. He said this to journalists in parliament Friday, commenting current events in Tskhinvali region. Bokeria said that everybody knows Georgia’s and the international community’s position that any elections can’t be [...]

Ivanishvili to support the press

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili promises to support and help Georgian print media. Lasha Tugushi, editor in-chief of the daily Rezonansi, said this after a meeting with the businessman Friday. Ivanishvili decided to meet with leaders of print media regarding Tbilisi City Hall’s decision, which will involve removing some newspaper kiosk from the capital. City [...]

Which ranking to choose?

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Prime Minister Nika Gilauri recently claimed that Georgia is number one tourism country in the South Caucasus region. But in a ranking of quality of life it gets 214th place, and in a personal safety ranking 215th. Mercer, the world's largest human resources consulting firm, has published its 2011 Quality of Living Worldwide [...]

South Ossetian opposition to boycott Russian Duma election

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Part of the population in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia will boycott the Russian elections for Duma on Sunday, according to Russian media reports. A large section of the population in the Tskhinvali region supported Alla Dzhioyeva in the so-called presidential elections. Kremlin, on the other hand, supported the candidate who came [...]

Businessman will fundamentally reform justice system

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Answering questions on his Facebook page late this week, businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili said he will 'fundamentally reform' the entire justice system, in order to establish independent courts. Ivanishvili was asked mostly about social conditions, unemployment, health and economy, but also said the courts and entire judicial system will be 'fundamentally reformed'. The businessman’s [...]

Lawyer on hungerstrike

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A famous Georgian lawyer is in his sixth day of hunger strike, protesting against the lack of independence of the country’s courts. Zurab Rostiashvili started his hunger strike November 27 because he thinks that in every single case he has worked on, the court has found an innocent person guilty. Due to official [...]

City Hall didn’t expect press’ reaction

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Zaza Gabunia, representative of the opposition Christian Democrats in Tbilisi City Council, claims that ‘the dismantling the press kiosks in the city is impacting the newspapers distribution and the newspaper circulation has decreased with several thousands.’ He see this as a consequence of Tbilisi City Hall’s decision to remove newspaper kiosks in the [...]

Vaulted into an Imedi scandal

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

He scaled the 3 meter wall in the early morning dusk and bolted into the yard as effortlessly as a panther. Images from Maestro TV's surveillance cameras reveal the athletic abilities of the man who now is in control there. The owners of the station are pushing criminal charges after the wall-jumping, which landed Erosi Kitsmarishvili in [...]

TV siege over, feared bloodshed

By | December 2nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The siege of a Tbilisi TV station is over. Producer Mamuka Glonti finally left after being holed up in a cramped studio for a day and a half, saying he was afraid of bloodshed. Exhausted and almost without a voice, the producer of an independent TV station in the Georgian capital emerged from [...]

Negotiations may avoid TV storming

By | December 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Journalists, NGO representatives, politicians and other supporters Thursday gathered in front of the Maestro building to support the journalists and demanded the TV station’s journalists are allowed to continue doing their work. The short rally began on at 15:00 and drew about forty protesters, many students and members of non-governmental organizations, blowing whistles [...]

City Hall defends booth process

By | December 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tbilisi City Hall denies that the tender process to install new kiosks around the Georgian capital is not conducted objectively. In recent days City Hall has been showered in accusations. The ‘booths’ issue was been raised by the opposition Christian-Democrats at a session of the City Council, called as a response to the [...]

Opposition party’s end preceded TV attack

By | December 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The sudden attacked on an independent TV station in Tbilisi was carried out by an opposition politician from a party which was disintegrating the same day, following the advent of a popular newcomer. The man behind the attack is the last remaining leader of a party called the Georgian Party. All his fellow [...]

Police preparing to storm Tbilisi TV station

By | December 1st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The producer and core personnel at Maestro were still holding out Thursday morning, marking 24 hours of the siege of the TV station. The outside perimeter and the building's first floor are besieged by police and members of a private security force loyal to the station's manager, Erosi Kitsmarishvili, who says he he [...]

Maestro appeals for people to stay the night

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - As police peeped in through his locked studio door, Maestro TV's producer Mamuka Glonti appealed to viewers Wednesday evening to come to Nutsubidze Street 83 and stay there overnight, in order to prevent that he and the others who are hauled up inside the studios are evicted. He said that he believes that [...]

Ossetian opposition sets up camp in Tskhinvali

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Winner of the South Ossetian de facto presidential elections Alla Dzhioyeva has appealed to the region's supreme court with a request to have yesterday's decision to annul the election overturned. South Ossetian news agency RES reports that Dzhioyeva's appeal was delivered to the de facto supreme court chairman Acamaz Bichenov. Her appeal will be [...]

Shots fired in Tskhinvali

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Russian news agency Ria Novosti Wednesday reported shooting on the main square in Tskhinvali, the capital of Georgia’s breakaway region South Ossetia. Supporters of the Alla Dzhioyeva, the appearant winner of the so-called presidential elections, are protesting against the region’s Supreme Court decision to annul the results of the elections. The government’s security [...]

‘Government wants to shut down Maestro’

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The crisis continues at independent Georgian TV station Maestro, as suspicion is growing that the interference is politically motivated. Financier Bidzina Ivanishvili for the first time came to Maestro’s studios Tuesday evening for a live conversation on a regular discussion program called Pirdapiri Saubari (Direct Talk). Wednesday morning before daylight, the station's manager [...]

TV station under siege!

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Journalists at Maestro were pacing nervously around in the TV station’s yard Wednesday afternoon, still physically prevented by police from entering their studios to reestablish normal broadcasting. Inside the studios, behind locked doors, producer Mamuka Glonti was leading an emergency broadcast with a few other journalists and technicians, who managed to enter before [...]

2007 rerun! Independent TV taken off air

By | November 30th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An independent TV station in Tbilisi was taken off air Wednesday morning, the day after businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili was on live from their studios. Police have surrounded their studios and most journalists are not allowed in, but the station's director and a few journalists are inside,broadcasting short updates. Many regard what is happening as [...]

Young lawyers concerned about press freedom

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) supports the Press Association rally Tuesday and says Tbilisi City Hall is worsening the conditions of the print media’s distribution system. GYLA says that the organization thinks that the government has a positive obligation to support freedom of the media; which first of all is to get rid [...]

Republicans also against newsstand scheme

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Republican Party expresses solidarity with distributors and publishers of print media and joins the Press Association in its demands. The party released a statement Tuesday saying that it protests against Tbilisi City Hall’s decision to remove newspaper kiosks. “Tbilisi City Hall’s decision several weeks ago about the location of booths turned out, [...]

Walked 250 km for democracy

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Three supporters of the Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili walked for five days and nights to support his right to get back his citizenship. The ordeal started in front of Gelati, a church in Western Georgia vested with religious and historical significance, and ended at the Trinity cathedral in central Tbilisi. Ivanishvili was stripped [...]

Looming specter of turmoil in Tskhinvali

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The dreaded specter of new unrest in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia has not abated, as the Supreme Court cancels the presidential elections as fraudulent and the authorities announce new elections in Spring. According to the news agency RIA Novosti, Amiran Diakonov, chairman of the de facto legislative committee, said that the [...]

Georgian press makes a stand

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: Media, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian publishers, journalists, editors and others rallied in front of Tbilisi’s City Hall high rise Tuesday to protest against a new plan to replace the capital’s newsstands. The project is called ‘1000 Booths’ and will according to representatives of the media involve removing most of the newspaper sales points which have been a [...]

Tskhinvali’s election commission gagged

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The election commission in Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia has been forbidden by the supreme court from announcing any more preliminary results after Sunday's election. The region is on the verge of conflict, as a standoff is developing between the region's supreme court and central election commission (CEC). Tensions grew after it [...]

Kiosk owners asked to boycott censorship plan

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Coalition for Freedom of Choice expresses solidarity with the print media regarding a new system for kiosks in Georgia’s capital which is threatening the newspaper sector and calls other booths owners to join in. “We call for all persons interested in City Hall’s so-called ‘1000 Booths’ tender: to express a civic and social [...]

Saakashvili’s opponent joins press protest

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili expresses solidarity with the Georgian Press and is joining them in a protest outside Tbilisi City Hall on Tuesday at 2 pm. “Under the cover of a project called ‘supporting small and medium sized enterprises’, the government attacked the free Georgian print media. We think that the City Hall decision [...]

Media coalition joins protest

By | November 29th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Coalition of Media Advocacy is expressing its solidarity with Georgian newspapers which are facing a dire threat of having their distribution virtually strangled. The Coalition said in a statement they too will attend Tuesday’s rally in front of Tbilisi City Hall at 2 pm, along with representatives of the press to protest against [...]

‘Not an election’

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - “What is happening in the Tskhinvali region can not be called elections,” Davit Bakradze, Georgian Speaker of Parliament said Monday at a parliamentary session to discuss the developments in Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia. Alla Dzhioyeva and Anatoly Bibilov were pit against eachother in the second round of the de facto presidential [...]

Saakashvili’s opponent allowed to start movement

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili’s press office Monday announced that the Public Registry has finally registered the movement ‘Georgian Dream.’ An hour earlier, they announced that the Civil Registry had refused to register Georgian Dream. “An hour after releasing the [first] press statement the Civil Registry registered the public movement 'Georgian dream'. This information [...]

Watchdog body pushes for progress in ‘Batumelebi case’

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Giorgi Tugushi, Georgia’s Public Defender, asks the chief prosecutor to study information provided by the newspaper Batumelebi. Batumelebi, which is published in the western city of Batumi, November 20 revealed the identity of a policeman who they say tried to blackmail one of their journalists in 2009. In huge letters proclaiming "Found!" the [...]

Tskhinvali beefing up security for election results announcement

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - In Georgia’s breakaway region of South Ossetia people are waiting for the results of the second tour of the de facto presidential elections. Early results indicate that opposition candidate Alla Dzhioyeva is heading for victory. According to Bela Plieva, chairman of Tskhinvali’s de facto Central Election Commission (CEC), elections have been completed and [...]

Press to picket Tbilisi City Hall

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Representatives of Georgian press are planning a demonstration in front of Tbilisi City Hall on Tuesday, November 29. Their demand is for the City Hall to stop harassing the free press. This comes after Tbilisi City Hall began to take away press newspaper booths in the capital, which is the main distribution channel [...]

Is harassed businessman Fady Asly?

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The businessman who was harassed by Georgia's Revenue Service last week is Fady Asly, Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) of Georgia and President and CEO of Agritechnics Holding. Georgian daily Rezonansi reported this in its Monday edition, Mteli Kvira. It is the head of Georgia's Association for Small and Medium Sized [...]

Opposition leads in Tskhinvali

By | November 28th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Oppositional candidate Alla Dzhioyeva is leading and might win the second round of the election in Georgia's breakaway region South Ossetia. At 2 am counting showed she had more than 51 per cent of the votes, while alleged Kremlin favorite Anatoly Bibilov fell significantly behind with 46 per cent. This is a clearer [...]

Appeal to civil society, the government, the diplomatic corps and interested persons!

By | November 27th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

We, representatives of the Georgian media, regard the Tbilisi City Hall project “Promotion of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises” as having nothing to do with the development of small and medium sized business and creating jobs. It is directed at the destruction of the existing system of distribution of print media and poses a real danger [...]

Georgian mine claims 13th victim

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A miner died Thursday morning following an accident in a coal mine in Tkibuli in the central region of Georgia. Miner Sergi Ashotia died after a wall collapsed. This is the 13th death in the same mine in the last two years. Early comments indicate that the reason for the accident was a massive [...]

Claims of harassment by Revenue Service

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Christian Democrat leader Giorgi Targamadze claims that Georgia’s Revenue Service harassed the head of one of the country's largest companies. Two days before, the person had suggested to the government had made suggestions regarding liberalization of the system to handle tax disputes in a closed session between parliamentarians and business council members. He [...]

‘Georgia world leader in fighting corruption’

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The whole world is taking note of how Georgia is tackling corruption, at least according to Prime Minister Nika Gilauri. While answering questions in parliament Friday he said that the whole world is learning from the methods Georgia is using to fight corruption. The comment came during a debate regarding the government’s ’10 [...]

‘Access to Russian market crucial’

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Christian Democrat leader Giorgi Targamadze says that improving relations with Russia is crucial to Georgia’s economic development. The statement came during a debate in parliament Friday about the government’s ’10 point plan’, a debate his party had called for. Targamadze said, if investments are the most important factor for the country’s economic development, [...]

PM: Tourism is booming

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - “Georgia is the main tourist country in the region and we will see better results in the next few years,” Nika Gilauri, Georgian Prime Minister told lawmakers Friday at a debate about a ’10 point plan’ recently announced by the government. Gilauri said the tourism sector has even better results to show than [...]

Doubts about gov’t employment plan

By | November 26th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

Parliamentary faction Christian Democratic Movement demands that the government presents statistics about an employment program implemented before the elections in 2006. Levan Vepkhvadze, representative of the Christian Democrats made this statement at a debate in parliament Friday regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’. The plan was brought in during the campaigning period ahead of the local [...]

PM: ‘Thousands of investors coming’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri claims that “hundred and thousand times more investors are planning to come into Georgia”, because they trust Georgia more than Eastern Europe countries, Greece and Italy. He made this statement in parliament Friday at a debate regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’ held at the request of the [...]

‘Elite corruption’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Jondi Baghaturia, representative of the parliament faction Unity for Justice and the leader of the Georgian Group Party accuses the government of creating monopolies in the country and protecting these monopolies. He made this statement at in parliament Friday. The political debates were held at the request of the Christian Democrats and revolved [...]

‘Nepotism’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Jondi Baghaturia, representative of the parliamentary faction Unity for Justice and leader of the Georgian Group Party accuses the government of nepotism. He made this statement in parliament today, during a debate by the request of the Christian Democrats regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’. “Mr. Nika, your brother is head of the Bank [...]

‘Georgia one of world’s healthiest economies’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - “Going by macro-economic parameters, Georgia is one of the healthiest countries in the world,” Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri said Friday at a debate in parliament. The debate was held at the request of the Christian Democrats regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’. According to Gilauri, economic growth rates are directly dependent on [...]

Will Georgia’s population be halved?

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Christian Democrats in parliament argue that comparing the specific numbers in the government’s 10-point plan’s to the reality puts the government in a very awkward situation. One of their representatives, Levan Vepkhvadze, said this at a special debates today, which has been held on their request regarding the government’s ten-point plan. “In [...]

Strong growth in GPD

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s Prime Minister Nika Gilauri says that gross domestic product (GDP) per capita will be 3 100 US dollars this year. He has made this statement at a political debate in the parliament Friday, regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’ at the request of the Christian Democrats. According to the Prime Minister, the [...]

‘No threat of recession’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri says ‘there is no threat of economic recession in the country’ due to the government’s successful efforts. The new aim for the government is the creation of jobs. The Prime Minister made the statement during a special debate in the parliament Friday regarding the government’s ’10 point plan’, [...]

Christian Democrats wants kiosk plan changed

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Christian Democrats has asked City Hall to directly transfer a hundred booths to newspapers and distributors within the framework of the project ‘1000 booths’. Zaza Gabunia, Christian Democrats representative in Tbilisi City Council, said this at a press conference November 25. He added that if Tbilisi City Hall doesn’t do this, the recent [...]

Republicans shares press concern about kiosks

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Republican Party joins representatives of the Georgian press in expressing protest against Tbilisi City Hall’s decision to remove newspaper kiosks. The Party’s statement says that City Hall’s decision, which was made several weeks ago, as expected had become an instrument for attack on the press and small business. “We Republicans were against [...]

Informal alliance around Ivanishvili

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Republicans, Free Democrats and businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili’s team will be cooperating with eachother, but they have not yet decided to set up a formal coalition or alliance. Davit Berdzenishvili, one of the Republicans leaders, announced this statement today after a meeting with Ivanishvili. The meeting was held at the businessman’s residence on [...]

Prison guards get more protection

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - It has become a criminal offense to threaten a jail worker or his family. A bill adopted by parliament, which makes changes to the Criminal Code, is now in force. Before the change, to resist a lawful order made by a prison or detention facility employee, or in any way prevent the activities [...]

Old taxes may be cancelled

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Some category of high income taxpayers will have their accumulated unpaid taxes until 2005 cancelled. This is foreseen by a bill to change the Tax Code which was presented to parliament on November 25. If the bill is passed, the Revenue Service will be entitled to write off tax debts, fines and penalty [...]

2011 budget passed

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s 2011 budget was passed Thursday after a debate in an almost empty parliament. In its revised form it is increased by 219 million lari to a total of 7 570 million. 84 votes for the budget and 4 against. But during the debate there were hardly anyone in the hall. Only 24 [...]

‘Smear campaign’

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Giorgi Tsagareishvili, member of the Free Democrats Party, accuses the government of being engaged in a smear campaign against the opposition. He had made this statement during a debate in parliament Thursday about tightening the rules regarding party financing. Tsagareishvili said that the media have launched what amounts to a smear campaign lately [...]

Georgian press warns it could be wiped out

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian press, which has long been a stronghold of independence, is warning it is in danger of being wiped out by a new distribution system which could be used to censure their access to customers. Newspapers in Georgia are almost totally reliant on street sale. Therefore news stands are the only way [...]

Opposition talked to deaf ears

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - When the opposition bloc Unity for Justice had their thirty minutes in parliament Thursday, the rest of the deputies had left. The only one there was parliament speaker Davit Bakradze. Not only the ruling National Movement were missing, but also other minority representatives. A faction is allowed thirty minutes’ time once for the summer and [...]

Mega dams will go ahead regardless

By | November 25th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Aleksandre Khetaguri, Georgia’s minister for energy and natural resources says two controversial hydropower projects in the west of the country will be built and there is no alternative. He had made this statement during question time in parliament Thursday. The minister saud the construction of the Khudoni and Namakhvani dams started during the [...]

Tbilisi boosts defense by 7%

By | November 24th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia expands its defense budget by 7% next year. The growth is explained with the country’s need for security. 44 600 000 Georgian lari more will become available for military spending, bringing the total to 704 631 200 lari for defense, finance minister Dimitry Gvindadze told lawmakers Thursday at a session to review [...]

Victims of Soviet repression lose compensation

By | November 24th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian authorities have stopped paying compensation to families of people who were victim of Soviet repression, according to Giorgi Tsagareishvili, representative of the Free Democrats and chairman of the parliamentary bloc Unity for Justice. Tsagareishvili asked finance minister Dimitry Gvindadze to clarify the issue Thursday at a plenary session in parliament to review [...]

Did 219 million lari disappear?

By | November 24th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - An opposition lawmaker accuses the government of having spent 219 million lari and trying to hide it by creative budgeting. Jondi Bagaturia of the Georgian Group party, who is part of the Unity for Justice bloc in parliament, said this at a plenary session Thursday to review the country’s 2011 budget. The 2011 [...]

Georgia braces for Euro crisis impact

By | November 24th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian finance minister says the country will financially stand on its feet in 2012. Dimitri Gvindadze made this statement today in parliament as lawmakers were gathered for a plenary session to review the 2011 budget. In its revised form, the 2011 budget will be increased  by 219 million lari, to 7 570 [...]

Georgia waives visa on ethnic grounds

By | November 24th, 2011|Categories: In brief, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia establishes a new system based on ethnicity, which gives people of Georgian origin the right to visa free travel, education grants and to represent their mother country at sports events. The Law on Diaspora Organizations and Compatriots Living Abroad was approved by parliament Thursday. It establishes a new status for citizens of [...]

Ivanishvili citizenship decision gets closer

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili is one step closer to knowing whether he will be allowed to run in Georgia’s coming parliamentary and presidential elections through ordinary avenues, as Tbilisi’s city court schedules his pre-trial session for December 5. The issue before the court is whether to give him back his Georgian citizenship. But Ivanishvili [...]

Congressmen met opposition before the government

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A delegation of US congressmen who came to Georgia for the eight-year anniversary of the rose revolution held meetings with the opposition before meeting the government. At the meetings with the opposition they spoke about the problems in the country. According to official information from the US embassy, the congressmen arrived here for [...]

Tbilisi unveils statue of Ronald Reagan

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Georgian capital marked the anniversary of the rose revolution in 2003 and twenty years since the collapse of the Soviet Union by unveiling a bronze statue of US president Ronald Reagan today. “He brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union and freed the lives of thousands of people. So he now [...]

Newspaper exposes identity of policeman who blackmailed journalist

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A Georgian newspaper has gone public with the identity of a policeman who blackmailed one of its journalists two years ago. According to the newspaper Batumelebi, which is published in the western coast city Batumi, the person who blackmailed Tedo Jorvbenadze, the coordinator of the paper’s investigative team, on November 25, 2009, was a [...]

Party financing rules target opposition

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A leading legal expert says the new rules on party financing will severely hamper opposition parties as Georgia enters two consecutive election years. The new rules are widely seen as a move to make it more difficult for billionaire philanthropist Bidzina Ivanishvili to use his wealth to claim political power. They will criminalize [...]

Tax break for seniors labelled age discrimination

By | November 23rd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - A leading opposition member of parliament says the government’s new tax break for seniors is a form of age discrimination. Free Democrat leader Giorgi Tsagareishvili, who is chair of the parliamentary faction Unity for Justice, says the initiative is a politically motivated decision and part of the election campaign and that it is [...]

Secret bill reins in party financing

By | November 22nd, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government has secretly sent a bill to the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission which seems to block Bidzina Ivanishvili's last option for using his wealth to build an opposition movement. Private companies and organizations are prohibited from financing political parties. Individuals will have the right to give a maximum of sixty thousand [...]

Adjara TV broadcasting in violation of the law

By | November 21st, 2011|Categories: News|

TBILISI, DFWatch - For the last three weeks Georgian television station Adjara TV has been broadcasting in violation of the constitution and the law on broadcasting. The Georgian government is responsible by not passing a law which would split it off from the autonomous republic’s authorities. Adjara TV has been operating as a branch of the [...]

75% support Ivanishvili on Facebook

By | November 21st, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - When asked on Facebook ‘Who would you vote for, Bidzina Ivanishvili or Mikheil Saakashvili?’, 24 000 out of nearly 32 000 Georgians answered they would support Georgian tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, while only 7 500 voted for the current president. This is a large number and ‘it shows a clear tendency’, according to a specialist [...]

Don’t mention the lawyers

By | November 19th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - 123 lawyers have been put in jail the last 7 years, and tell horrific stories of beatings and rape. But EU parliamentarians Thursday decided not to mention the lawyers in their criticism of Georgia. Krzysztof Lisek, speaker of the European Parliament on Georgia issues, was in Tbilisi Friday discussing the latest resolution with [...]

PM: Georgia doesn’t need EU integration yet

By | November 18th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia’s Prime Minister Nika Gilauri thinks that under today’s conditions, Georgia doesn’t need to be integrated with the European Union. There are negotiations with the EU now about a free trade agreement, and Georgia ‘is hoping for visa liberalization agreement and free trade agreement’. “For now EU is not ready to accept new [...]

Benefits of an embargo

By | November 18th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Russia’s embargo has made Georgia seek out new markets thereby making the country more independent, Giga Bokeria, secretary of Georgia’s national security council, said on Thursday. Bokeria said this during a conference organized by the British magazine The Economist in Tbilisi. He was responding to a statement by opposition politician Irakli Alasania, who [...]

Bendukidze criticizes European bureacracy

By | November 18th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian economic analyst Kakha Bendukidze Thursday criticized the European Union for having too much bureacracy. “We are a European country. Psychologically and politically we are part of Europe, the Europe of human rights, respecting principles of the circulation of capital. But there is another Europe, which is a bureaucratic creature, which decides tax [...]

Gov’t to Cartu Bank: Stay out of politics

By | November 17th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - If the managers of Cartu Bank won’t keep out of politics and get its house in order, the National Bank will take it over. Giorgi Kadagidze, president of the National Bank, said this Thursday at a session of the parliament’s finance and budget committee. Cartu Bank is owned by Bidzina Ivanishvili, the Georgian [...]

Ashton commends Georgian trade reforms

By | November 17th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili hopes that the negotiations about a free trade agreement with the EU will be completed ahead of schedule. The president said this after a meeting with Catherine Ashton, EU's vice-president and high representative for foreign affairs and security policy. Ashton is in Georgia within the South Caucasus visit frameworks. [...]

The Economist to hold conference in Tbilisi

By | November 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The British magazine The Economist will gather experts and politicians in Tbilisi November 17 to discuss and analyze Georgia’s investment environment and perspectives. The event will take place in the Radisson hotel. Among the Georgian speakers will be prime minister Nika Gilauri, finance minister Dimitry Gvindadze, and Vera Kobalia, the minister of economy [...]

Patriarch: Everything will be all right

By | November 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - It was a moment heavy with symbolism when Georgian businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili and Patriarch Ilia II emerged from their meeting Tuesday. “We are pleased that Ivanishvili visited the Antioch today. We have discussed a number of issues, especially the future of Georgia and its current condition. I think everything will be all right,” [...]

Opposition wants debate about 10 point plan

By | November 16th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Just as the government is getting ready for a nationwide tour to promote its new ten point plan for developing the country, the opposition Christian Democrats say the plan should first be discussed in parliament. “Parliament is a place, where the main positions should be heard, especially when it comes to issues like [...]

Saakashvili challenger consults with Patriarch

By | November 15th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The main challenger in Georgian politics Tuesday consulted with the country's highly respected patriarch, and received advice about his further steps to claim power.  Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II, Georgia's most respected person, met Bidzina Ivanishvili Tuesday at 6 pm, and the businessman afterwards said he received many tips which will help him in his [...]

Alasania calls for a referendum

By | November 15th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Free Democrats leader Irakli Alasania asks the government to put the the latest constitutional change to the people in a referendum, calling it an illegal decision. The process is already in motion to change the constitution and increase the number of members of parliament from 150 to 190. But most of the opposition [...]

Prime minister gets increased power

By | November 14th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Changes in how the leader of Georgia's Adajara region is chosen raises further suspicion that power is being concentrated in the office of the prime minister, increasing fears of a Putin scenario. The president has agreed with the government about the candidacy of the Chairman of the Adjara’s Autonomous Republic of Georgia. He [...]

Inconclusive election in Tskhinvali

By | November 14th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The Tskhinvali region is heading for a run-off between the two main contenders in the presidential election, after none of them got above the 50 per cent threshold to win in the first round. According to Agence France-Presse, results from 78 out of 86 polling stations showed that alleged Kremlin-favorite Anatoly Bibilov fell [...]

‘Russia and Georgia: looking for a solution’

By | November 13th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - ‘Russia and Georgia: looking for a solution’ – this is the title of a new collection of articles on Russia-Georgia problems, published by Russian and Georgian experts. With the help of the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies (GFSIS), and support from the EU and the UNDP project COBERM (Confidence Building Early [...]

Half-empty parliament oks election map redraw

By | November 12th, 2011|Categories: News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - Barely half of parliament attended when a crucial proposal to rearrange how they themselves are elected was being discussed yesterday. The constitutional amendment in question will both increase the number of parliamentarians from 150 to 190 and change how they are elected, and is therefore one of the key changes to Georgia's election [...]

Oops! Gov’t backtracks on election reform

By | November 11th, 2011|Categories: Legal reform, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch - The government is retracting on several of its eleventh-hour changes to the Georgian election law, but  stands firm on not allowing video surveillance in polling stations and defends the right of governors to participate in the election campaign. This emerged Friday in comments made by a member of the editorial group which has [...]