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30 Jun. '10 Neuer Gesetzesentwurf für den Verkauf der Nord-Süd-Gaspipeline von der Regierungspartei vorgelegt
A new draft law tabled by lawmakers from the ruling party, which, if approved, will allow the government to sell Georgia’s north-south gas pipeline system, is likely to revitalize debates on the country’s “strategic assets” already seen for number of times in the past.
MP Pavle Kublashvili, chairman of parliamentary committee for legal affairs and his deputy MP Lasha Tordia have sponsored a proposal, which envisages unification of four separate laws related to privatization of state assets into one legislature.
The draft law also envisages removing north-south gas pipeline from the list of those state assets, which are currently banned from being privatized.
Georgia’s main trunkline is used for the transmission of natural gas from Russia into Armenia and also to Georgia and the Georgian authorities have undertaken commitment before the United States in frames of large-scale infrastructure rehabilitation aid program not to sell the pipeline at least before April, 2011.
“In general, the principle is very simple – any enterprise is managed much better by a private sector then by the government. That’s the fact; that’s an axiom for those who are proponents of free economy. So there should be not a single enterprise excluded from privatization list,” MP Kublashvili told Civil.Ge on June 30.
Asked if his legislative initiative meant that the authorities plan to sell the north-south gas pipeline, MP Kublashvili responded: “That’s not an issue that requires to be decided today. I think that the law should not impose restrictions [on privatization]. When it may happen and how and when the government may decide to sell [the pipeline] that’s an issue for future [discussions]”.
He said that the Parliament would discuss his initiative in July and if approved it would go into force this September.
The issue of privatization of the pipeline was raised by the authorities for number of times in the past. Debates were triggered on the matter in February, 2005 when President Saakashvili told the Italian La Stampa that Tbilisi was discussing with Russia’s gas monopoly, Gazprom, possible sale of the pipeline.
At the time the U.S. officials have warned Tbilisi to show cautious before taking such a decision.
In September, 2005 Georgia and the United States, through its Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), signed an agreement on USD 295.3 million five-year aid program (further USD 100 million was added to this program in 2008). The program, among other infrastructure development projects, also envisaged rehabilitation of the north-south gas pipeline system.
Under that five-year agreement, which went into force in April, 2006, the Georgian government has undertaken commitment not to “sell or transfer, or permit to be sold or transferred” the pipeline or a controlling interest in the a state-run company which operates the gas pipeline system, until the expiration of this agreement term, hence until April, 2011.
Since then the U.S. has invested USD 35 million in rehabilitation at 22 sites of the pipeline.
In case the Georgian government does not comply with the non-transfer condition of the agreement with MCC, it will have "to reimburse promptly" to MCC funding allocated for the pipeline rehabilitation. In that case MCC will also have the right to suspend all or a portion of further disbursements in connection with the pipeline rehabilitation or other project activities under the Millennium Challenge Account aid program.
30 Jun. '10 US-Organisation "Freedom House" stuft Georgiens Wertung für Demokratie gleich ein wie im Vorjahr
Georgia’s democracy score remained unchanged in 2009 over the previous year, which is the lowers since 2005, according to a study by the U.S.-based Freedom House.
Nations in Transit 2010, an annual research, covers 29 former communist European and Eurasian countries, covering events of 2009. Scores in the survey are based on a 1 to 7 scale, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic development and 7 the lowest.
Georgia’s overall democracy score, according to this recent survey, is 4.93, the same as it was for 2008, which is down from 4.79 for 2007 and 4.17 in 1999-2000. In the similar study released by Freedom House in 2005 Georgia’s overall score was 4.96.
An overall democracy score is an average of ratings for separate categories, involving electoral process (no election was held in Georgia in 2009; conduct of May 30, 2010 local elections will be reflected in next year’s survey); civil society, independent media, national and local governance; judiciary and corruption – scores in all these separate categories also remained unchanged.
Christopher Walker, director of studies at Freedom House, writes in an overview of Nations in Transit 2010, that of the 12 non-Baltic former Soviet republics, eight are “consolidated authoritarian regimes”; two – Armenia and Moldova, are “semi-consolidated authoritarian systems” and remaining two – Georgia and Ukraine are “classified as transitional-hybrid systems.”
According to Freedom House the ratings for separate countries reflect the consensus of the organization, its academic advisers, and the authors of country reports (Davit Aprasidze, professor of political sciences at the Tbilisi-based Ilia State University, in case of Georgia report).
30 Jun. '10 US-Sekretär für Europa und Asien Philip Gordon: ‘Wir haben kein Waffen-Embargo gegenüber Georgia’
A senior U.S. diplomat has strongly denied any assumption that Washington had arms embargo on Georgia, but also said on June 29 that arms sale was not a solution to Georgia’s problems.
“Let me first clarify that we don’t have an arms embargo on Georgia,” said Philip Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, who briefed reporters in Washington about upcoming trip of the U.S. Secretary State to Eastern Europe.
“We are pursuing security cooperation with Georgia. Georgia is making a very significant contribution in Afghanistan, which we value… and we are helping them with training for that mission.”
“All sovereign, independent countries in Europe and elsewhere have the right to self-defense and to seek the alliances of their choosing without a third party having a veto over it,” he said.
When further pressed on the matter and asked why the U.S. had not fulfilled any of Georgia’s request for arms in last couple of years, Gordon responded, that Washington’s focus after the August war was “reducing tensions” and trying to get Russian to follow its commitments under the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement and to respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“We don’t think that arms sales and military equipment is the path to the situation in Georgia that we’re trying to get to,” Gordon said.
“We have engaged very closely with our friends in Georgia to develop their democracy and prosperity because we believe that the real long-term situation – solution in Georgia is not going to be a military one based on the sale of this or that military equipment. There’s not a military fix to this problem. It is, through Georgia, becoming a stronger democracy, a more prosperous country, so that the residents of South Ossetia and Abkhazia agree that they should be part of that unified Georgia. That is what our focus has been on. That’s what this trip [by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Georgia on July 5] will focus on,” he said.
On June 28, the Jane’s Defence Weekly (JDW) reported citing Georgian officials, as well as representatives of US and Israeli companies present at Eurosatory defence exhibition in Paris in mid-June, that after the August, 2008 war Georgia was not able to buy defense equipment, on the one hand because of the U.S. policies and on the other hand because of Russia’s pressure.
Citing senior Georgian defense ministry official JDW reported that Georgia was in need of over-the-horizon radars that can give an advance warning of any Russian movement, man-portable anti-tank weapons and more current-day communication systems. “However, none of these systems have been made available for the Georgians to purchase, according to US and NATO personnel based in Tbilisi,” Jane’s Defense Weekly reported.
"No one can understand what the US government's goal is in blocking these sales. Radios and radars are not offensive weapons," JDW reported quoting unnamed Tbilisi-based defence contractor, whose company is involved in training the Georgian military.
In late 2006 Georgia contracted the U.S. defense communications and information technology company, Harris Corp., on supply of communication systems. But as former chief of staff of the armed forces, Zaza Gogava, told in November, 2008 the Georgian parliamentary special commission studying the August war, the Georgian armed forces had problems with communication and blamed not having enough time to train personnel in use of those communication systems.
According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, after the August war Georgia purchased 70 Ejder armored wheeled vehicles from Turkey, which were first publicly displayed last September and twelve T-84 battle tanks from Ukraine.
30 Jun. '10 US-Sekretär für Europa und Asien Philip Gordon sagt, dass beim Besuch von US-Außenministerin Hillary Clinton in Georgien den Fortschritt in der strategischen Partnerschaft und die lokalen Wahlen besprechen wird
Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, will review the progress of U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership and results of the May 30 local elections when she visits Georgia on July 5, Philip Gordon, the assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, said.
Clinton starts trip to Eastern Europe from July 1 with Ukraine, followed by Poland and then Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.
In Tbilisi the U.S. Secretary of State will meet with President Saakashvili, Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze, opposition and civil society representatives, as well as women’s leaders, Philip Gordon said.
“Any trip like this in multiple countries you have multiple goals,” he said on June 29, while briefing reporters in Washington about the upcoming visit. “I think a common theme that stretches across all of them is this theme of democracy.”
Gordon also said that he did not see this trip as “a sort of reassurance tour”, following the U.S. reset policy with Russia; he said there was no lack of understanding among the United States’ Eastern European partners that “the better relationship with Russia does not come at the expense of our relationship with sovereign, independent countries that are near Russia.”
“I suspect in both places [Ukraine and Georgia] the Secretary will talk to her counterparts about Russia, but I wouldn’t see it as the purpose of the trip,” he said. “We don’t think that anybody should have any concerns about the new and better relationship with Russia… But to the extent that anyone has concerns about our Russia policy, we’re happy to discuss them and, again, I’m sure in Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, the issue of Russia will come up.”
He also reiterated that the U.S. continues calling on Russia to abide by its commitments undertaken under the August 12 six-point ceasefire agreement and to secure transparency in breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia through allowing international presence in those regions.
“We are dissatisfied with the situation there and we’ve made this clear. The President made it clear to President Medvedev last week and we’ve been consistent in noting that we respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Gordon said.
30 Jun. '10 Abgeordnete bestätigen die neuen Steuerregelungen in der ersten Lesung
29 Jun. '10 Parlament verabschiedet die Regierungsumbildung
29 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili betont nochmals, dass das weiße Haus Abchasien und Südossetien "besetzte Gebiete" genannt hat
    * ‘Our foreign policy intensified’;
    * ‘French FM to visit Georgia in mid-July’;
    * ‘Ready for talks with Russia’;
    * ‘Russian leadership elected in violation of int’l norms’;
    * ‘Launch of Association Agreement talks with EU in July historic’
On June 29 President Saakashvili again spoke on importance of describing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “occupied regions” by the White House, saying that it creates “absolutely new reality” in connection with those regions.
Speaking at an extended session of the National Security Council in presence of some opposition politicians, Saakashvili said that Tbilisi would continue its drive to achieve adoption of this term in reference to Abkhazia and South Ossetia by individual EU-member states, as well as by EU itself.
“You are well aware that the term ‘occupation’ has been used very rarely in the course of 20th century... This term means that occupation will end sooner or later. It means giving a temporary status to presence of [occupying force] on those territories; it means that those people [Russian forces] are there illegally; it means that property transactions are illegal… For example, I want tell some imprudent Russians: you are illegally buying houses [in Abkhazia] in illegally occupied territory of Georgia, as it is recognized by the international community and Russian forces there are occupants,” Saakashvili said.
“The Russian people, which itself experienced Nazi occupation during the World War II, because of its leadership’s short-sighted and reckless policy now has to live in the country, which is occupant,” Saakashvili said.
He also said that despite Moscow’s statements that they would not negotiate with Georgia’s current leadership, Tbilisi was “fully ready to hold comprehensive talks with Russia without any pre-conditions on normalization of relations.”
“This normalization means [talks] on return of 500,000 displaced persons back to their homes and restoration of their property rights, as well as on other issues related with bilateral relations, including political, economic, diplomatic and humanitarian aspects,” Saakashvili said.
“We have no interest in having confrontation with Russia; we are ready to talk with the Russian leadership, which unlike the Georgian one is elected through violation of all the international norms and that’s observed by international organizations; despite of that it is the Russian leadership and we recognize it as partner in negotiations and we want to have talks with them providing that Georgia should be recognized as united, sovereign, independent state,” Saakashvili said.
In his live televised opening remarks at the National Security Council, Saakashvili also said that Georgia’s foreign policy has intensified significantly recently.
“After some time of calmness, there have been series of foreign visits. We have recently hosted Austrian Foreign Minister, the Poland’s Foreign Minister will visit Georgia and then the U.S. Secretary of State will visit Georgia. On July 14, French Foreign Minister [Bernard Kouchner] will be celebrating the French national day here in Tbilisi together with us – at least according to the information that was available yesterday - and on July 15 we are formally launching negotiations with EU on Association Agreement. A high-level EU delegation will be visiting Georgia; this is a historic moment – without any exaggeration – for launch of Georgia’s European integration. We expect opening of talks with EU on comprehensive free trade agreement in early autumn. We have already signed visa facilitation with EU… and we hope that along with Association Agreement we also start moving towards visa-free regime [with EU]… It is Georgia among EU Eastern Partnership countries, which has most of the chances to meet EU visa-free criteria in the nearest future,” Saakashvili said.
29 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili lädt die Opposition ein, die Strategie zu Abchasien und Südossetien zu diskutieren
President Saakashvili has invited opposition representatives at an extended session of National Security Council to discuss an action plan laying out Tbilisi’s proposals on how to implement the government’s State Strategy on Occupied Territories: Engagement through Cooperation.
Representatives of parliamentary minority have confirmed readiness to participate in the meeting scheduled for late afternoon on Tuesday. Representative from Industrialist Party, a non-parliamentary opposition group, will also take part.
“An in-depth discussion of action plan, which is already developed, will take place,” Eka Tkeshelashvili, secretary of National Security Council, told Imedi TV.
National-Democratic Party, which has one representative in the Parliament, said that during the meeting it would raise the issue of setting up “of a high-level commission” to develop a new election code in line with international recommendations.
An inter-party working group worked on amendments to the election code ahead of the local elections, which failed to reach consensus on key elements of rule of electing Tbilisi city mayor.
In their most recent report released this month co-rapporteurs on Georgia within Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) have called for resumption of the election working group.
“The current Electoral Code and other laws that govern the elections have seen multiple cycles of amendments to address shortcomings noted during elections. This has led to a significant number of contradictory or ambiguous provisions in the Electoral Code. A new electoral code therefore needs to be drafted which includes an election system that has the consensus of as many as possible political forces in Georgia. This is a priority task for the election working group that should be finalised well before the next parliamentary elections,” according to the report.
Davit Bakradze, the Georgian parliamentary chairman, said on June 19, that he expected the election working group to be resumed by autumn.
29 Jun. '10 Ankläger des int. Gerichtshofs im Zusammenhang mit dem Augustkrieg 2008: ‘Keine Straflosigkeit von Verbrechen in Georgien’
A delegation from the Office of Prosecutor of International Criminal Court (ICC), which visited Georgia last week, received an update on national investigation being carried out by the Georgian prosecutor’s office into alleged crimes committed during the August war, ICC’s Prosecutor’s Office said in a press release.
“The Rome Statute ensures the end of impunity,” ICC Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said referring to the statute, which entered into force in 2002, establishing ICC.
“States have the primary responsibility to investigate and prosecute; the Court only steps in if there are no genuine national proceedings,” he said.
Shortly after the war, the ICC Prosecutor announced on August 20, 2008 about the preliminary examination of the situation in Georgia. During the preliminary examination ICC Prosecutor’s Office assesses if an investigation should be opened.
“The Court potentially has jurisdiction over ICC crimes allegedly committed on the territory of Georgia, including forced displacement of civilians, killing of peacekeepers and attacks against civilian targets,” the ICC Prosecutor’s Office said on June 25 in a press release headlined “No impunity for crimes committed in Georgia.”
During the visit on June 22-24, the ICC Prosecutor’s Office delegation met with Georgia’s chief prosecutor, the Chairman of Supreme Court, the State Minister for Reintegration, senior officials from the Ministries of Justice, Foreign Affairs and Defence, as well as representatives from non-governmental organizations.
“We appreciate the co-operation of the Georgian authorities,” ICC Prosecutor said. “It is mandatory that those most responsible for serious crimes be investigated.”
His office said that both Georgia and Russia were providing “substantial information” on their respective national investigations. The delegation from ICC Prosecutor’s Office paid its previous visit to Georgia in November, 2008 and to Russia in March, 2010.
28 Jun. '10 Regierung läßt Pläne für eine Umsatzsteuer für Universitäten fallen, die im Zuge der neuen Steuerregelungen vorgesehen war
28 Jun. '10 Abgeordnete begrüßen, dass die Debatten um den August-Krieg auf der PACE-Agenda hochgehalten werden
28 Jun. '10 Außenminister Vashadzes russische Staatsbürgerschaft auf sein Verlangen hin nun aufgelöst
28 Jun. '10 Abgeordnete beginnen mit der Diskussion der Regierungsumbildung
27 Jun. '10 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli ist zu Gesprächen mit der russ. Regierungspartei "United Russia" in Moskau
26 Jun. '10 neuen Steuerregelungen
25 Jun. '10 US-Außenministerin Hillary Clinton wird bei einer Reise zu den Südkaukasusstaaten auch Georgien besuchen
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Georgia early next month as part of his trip to South Caucasus states, as well as Ukraine and Poland, the Department of State said on June 25.
25 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili über den Dialog USA-Russland: dass Präsident Obama in einem zehnseitigen Positionspapier den Begriff "Okkupation" verwendet in Bezug auf Abchasien und Südossetien sei ein "wichtiger Schritt vorwärts"
President Saakashvili said on June 25 it was “an important step forward” in Tbilisi’s drive to internationally recognize Russia as occupying power, when the White House used the term “occupation” in reference to Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
A ten-page fact sheet, released by the White House on June 24, detailing how President Obama has "reset" the relationship with Russia, says that the Washington continues “to call for Russia to end its occupation of the Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.” It also reads that the Obama administration continues “to press for… a return of international observers to the two occupied regions of Georgia.”
President Saakashvili also said that Tbilisi welcomed U.S.-Russia dialogue and added that the U.S. remained committed to its principles in its policy of “reset” of relations with Russia and it was “a precondition for us that this dialogue will yield desirable results for everybody, including for those about 500,000 of our citizens, who cannot return to their own homes.
Below is a full transcript of Saakashvili’s statement on the matter:
“For the first time, at this level, the U.S. President and his administration have officially described the presence of Russian troops in Georgia as occupation and [described] our regions [of Abkhazia and South Ossetia] as Georgia’s occupied regions.
We have been working for already two years to establish [use] this term in international practice [in reference to Abkhazia and South Ossetia]. It is not and it was not a simple task because a term ‘occupation’ means concrete legal consequences and historically it was very rarely used in international practice as well as such outrageous actions, which Russia carries out in Georgia, are very rare. We had constant consultations with our American partners during recent months, including on this issue.
We welcome that yesterday an exact legal evaluation was given to what is happening in Georgia. This is a very important step forward. As far as legal-political assessment is concerned, from now on it is now precisely defined on the highest international level that we have to deal with the occupation and that the Russian troops in Georgia represent occupants.
Any occupation is temporary and sooner or later each occupant will have to leave the territory occupied by them.
At the same time, we welcome holding of a dialogue between Russia and the United States. We welcome President Obama’s course in this direction.
The fact that under conditions of this dialogue the United States remains committed to its principle position, based on the values which the United States has, is a precondition for us that this dialogue will yield desirable results for everybody, including for those about 500,000 of our citizens, who cannot return to their own homes.
Despite the rhetoric full of threats by the Russian leadership, Georgia always was, is and will be ready to hold a in-depth dialogue with Russia on the return of about 500,000 citizens of any ethnicities, who were expelled from their homes, as well as on de-occupation of Georgia and full-scale normalization of bilateral relations.
It was not Georgia, who launched confrontation with Russia and Georgia is not interested in continuation of this confrontation, of course, provided that Russia should respect our borders, the choice of the Georgian people, our multi-ethnic society and let the displaced persons of all the ethnicities to return back to their homes, while its occupation troops should leave Georgia’s territory. I repeat – a term ‘occupation’ is no longer my term; it is an internally established term, especially after yesterday.”
25 Jun. '10 Kabinett umbesetzt auf fünf Positionen
    * Economy Minister replaced;
    * New chief of Presidents administration;
    * New Deputy Foreign Minister;
    * New Ministry for Youth and Sports proposed;
    * New Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure;
President Saakashvili announced on June 25 about number staff changes in the government and his administration, as well as about proposed changes in the structure of the government resulting in establishment of a new ministry in charge of youth affairs and sports.
He explained the proposed changes with the need “of renewal staff, especially with young and professional cadre.”
Saakashvili said that Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure, Davit Tkeshelashvili, replaced head of his administration. Former head of the president’s administration, Davit Janashia, will become chief of the state guard service, an agency in charge of providing security of senior officials and premises of state agencies.
A long-time journalist with Rustavi 2 TV, Irma Nadirashvili, who until recently was head of the television station’s newsroom, was appointed as Tkeshelashvili’s deputy in charge of communication with media.
Tkeshelashvili, who is a long-time ally of the President and member of ruling party, was replaced on the post of Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure by Ramaz Nikolaishvili, who was head of the road infrastructure agency.
Economy Minister, Zurab Pololikashvili, was replaced by Vera Kobalia, a newcomer in the government.
Vera Kobalia, who is in her late twenties, has lived in Canada until recently, where her family, displaced from Abkhazia as a result of armed conflict in early 90s, emigrated over a decade ago.
Until late last year Kobalia worked for Vancouver-based European Breads Bakery, established by her father in 2001.
After return to Georgia she co-established Coalition for Justice, a non-governmental organization with a declared goal to protect rights of Georgian IDPs and to increase international awareness about Georgian IDPs. The NGO and personally Kobalia have been gaining significant publicity recently.
Saakashvili also said that a young scholar, Tornike Gordadze, who has lived in France for over a decade, was appointed as new Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of European affairs.
Gordadze, who was a director of Caucasus Studies at the French Institute of Anatolian Studies, was described by Saakashvili as “a very prominent political scholar in Paris”.
He said that Gordadze would be in charge of leading talks with Brussels on EU-Georgia Association Agreement, as well as on free trade treaty with the European Union. He said that talks on Association Agreement with EU would launch in mid-July, when a delegation from Brussels was expected to arrive in Tbilisi.
Saakashvili also said that Gordadze would be in charge of “the French direction of our foreign policy.” With Gordadze's appointment the Foreign Minister will now have six deputies instead of previous five.
The President also said that as part of the government’s structural changes, a department for youth and sports affairs would be separated from the Ministry for Culture, Sports and Protection of Monuments and would be established as a separate ministry. Governor of Shida Kartli region, Lado Vardzelashvili, will lead the new ministry.
In another structural change, the United Transport Administration will be separated from the Ministry for Regional Development and Infrastructure and will merge with the Ministry of Economy and the latter will be renamed into Ministry for Economy and Sustainable Development.
“As you can see the government is very stable. Practically, the changes occur much more rarely, than it was happening during the first presidential term,” Saakashvili said and added, that cabinet members’ performance was assessed based on their results. “If a person cannot achieve any results in particular direction, the one should be sent in charge of some other direction.”
The changes in the cabinet, as well as proposed government’s structural changes have yet to be approved by the Parliament, expected for next week.
25 Jun. '10 In Gori wurde die Stalin-Statue vom zentralen Stadtplatz zum Museum versetzt
25 Jun. '10 US-Präsident Obama beim Treffen mit Präsident Medvedev: "unsere zwei Länder sind weiterhin in bestimmten Fragen unterschiedlicher Auffassung, solche wie Georgien ..."
25 Jun. '10 Bruttoinlandsprodukt im ersten Quartal mit 4.5% Wachstum
24 Jun. '10 Suchumi nennt die mögliche Abschaffung des EU-Südkaukasusgesandten "befrachtet mit der Verringerung der Kontakte von Suchumi mit Brüssel"
24 Jun. '10 Außenminister Vashadze: Moskau versucht die Genfer Gespräche zu unterminieren
Moscow tries to undermine Geneva talks using its “puppets” in Sokhumi, Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, said on June 24.
In an English-language statement released on June 23, the Abkhaz leader’s senior aide said Sokhumi was “temporarily withdrawing" from Geneva talks, as negotiations launched after the August war "have not produced tangible progress."
“It is an outstanding example that Russia does not need peace, stability and security in South Caucasus and Georgia. The so called government of Abkhazia is simply a puppet in the hands of Moscow,” the Georgian Foreign Minister told journalists.
“The international community will have to exert pressure on Russia to make it – not Abkhazia but Russia – return to Geneva talks and to stop attempts of destruction of this only existing format of peace talks,” Vashadze said.
The next, twelfth round of Geneva talks, launched after the August war, is scheduled for July 27.
Sokhumi said in the statement, which mainly is addressed to co-mediators of Geneva talks – EU, OSCE and UN, that it would return to Geneva talks after co-mediators present a document “that includes propositions from all of the parties and enables open discussion and debate." The statement does not give specifics, but says that “the co-moderators have consistently failed to facilitate the talks in a constructive and impartial manner.”
24 Jun. '10 Außenminister Vashadze zu den "Beziehungen zwischen Netzwerken des organisierten Verbrechens und Gruppen der außerparlamentarischen Opposition in Georgien", was zuvor in der dt. Presse berichtet wurde
The Georgian authorities were aware of links between Europe-based Georgian-organized crime network and “marginal opposition” groups in Georgian opposition well before it was reported in the German press, Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, said on June 24.
The German daily, Frankfurter Rundschau, reported this week, citing a 66-page report by the Austrian Federal Criminal Police Office, that last year Georgian opposition groups, whose identities are not revealed in the article, were in contact with the Georgian-organized crime network through an owner of a Georgian restaurant in Vienna, who acted as a go-between. According to the same report the Austrian police concluded based on phone tapping records, that the criminal network aimed at using the opposition street protest last spring and summer, to overthrow President Saakashvili’s government.
According to the same report the network tried to use assistance from “senior Interior Ministry officials” as well in reaching its goal. Vienna-based members of the network were also in contact with Georgian embassy and consulate employees, receiving information from them, according to the report.
“Our [diplomatic] mission in Vienna had a meeting with relevant Austrian authorities and the Austrian side expressed deep regret that the information was leaked to the media, before these materials were sent to court,” Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, said at a joint news conference with his Austrian counterpart, Michael Spindelegger, in Tbilisi.
“As far as links between Vienna-based some criminals and so called opposition, marginal opposition is concerned, we’ve been speaking about it for a long time already and there is nothing surprising in [this report],” Vashadze added.
The Austrian Foreign Minister said that he was not aware of details of this report, but would request information about it from the Austrian Interior Ministry after he returns back to Vienna.
The Frankfurter Rundschau also reported, citing the Austrian police report, that the owner of Georgian restaurant in Vienna, who acted a go-between, was also in contact with Moscow-based ex-Georgian security chief, Igor Giorgadze, who is wanted in Georgia for assassination attempt against ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze fifteen years ago.
Dozens of persons, identified as members of Georgian mafia in Europe, were arrested in a coordinated operation in Europe in mid-March, 2010. The arrests, which took place in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain and Italy, were part of a year-long operation codenamed Java.
Lasha Shushanashvili, identified as boss of the Georgian-organized crime network in Europe, could escape the arrest in Greece. The Frankfurter Rundschau reported, citing the Austrian police report, that attempts by the Shushanashvili’s network to meddle in Georgia’s political developments was revealed as a result of investigations in frames of Java operation.
The Frankfurter Rundschau wrote that the Austrian police was well aware of political sensitivity of the matter and it was not yet clear whether phone tapping records would be sent to court along with other evidence against the Georgian criminal network members.
24 Jun. '10 Östereichischer Außenminister Michael Spindelegger besucht Georgien
24 Jun. '10 Russ. Präsident Medvedev: keine Aussicht, mit Präsident Saakashvili Beziehungen zu haben
24 Jun. '10 Vertreter des Weißen Hauses: Georgien wird beim Treffen Obama-Medvedev besprochen werden
24 Jun. '10 Bagapsh: Suchumi zieht sich "vorübergehend" aus den Genfer Gespräche zurück
Sokhumi is "temporarily withdrawing" from Geneva talks, as negotiations launched after the August war "have not produced tangible progress," Nadir Bitiev, a senior aide to Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, said in an English-language statement released on Wednesday evening.
Bitiev, who is among the group of Abkhaz negotiators at the Geneva talks, said that Sokhumi had already "informed the Office of the Secretariat overseeing the five-party talks" about its decision.
“My government believes the concept of the Geneva talks is sound, and we want to be active participants in a series of discussions which are productive.  We regret having to make this decision at this time. We have done so because the co-moderators have consistently failed to facilitate the talks in a constructive and impartial manner," Bitiev's statement reads.
He also said that the Abkhaz side would "return to the proceedings when the co-moderators present a concrete document that includes propositions from all of the parties and enables open discussion and debate."
"We hope that such a document will be forthcoming in a reasonable timeframe," he said.
The most recent, eleventh round of Geneva talks, with participation of negotiators from Georgia, Russia, United States, as well as from Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, was held on June 8 and the only concrete agreement reached during that meeting was about the date of the next round of talks - on July 27.
Declaration, or a treaty on non-use of force is a key point of contention. Moscow insists on Tbilisi to sign this commitment, along with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali. Russia says it can not be part of this declaration as it does not consider itself as a party into conflict. Tbilisi says that although it has already committed itself not to use force under the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement, it is ready to sign an additional, separate non-use of force treaty, but on the condition if Russia is also part of it. Georgia also wants the new treaty to also reflect the commitments Russia has already undertaken under the six-point agreement, envisaging withdrawal of Russian forces to pre-August war positions.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry has said for number of times, including after the recent round of talks, that despite Russia's "unconstructive" position, Geneva talks were "a valuable forum" and expressed readiness "to continue full and constructive engagement in the talks with an aim of discussing all outstanding issues, including the most sensitive and controversial ones."
23 Jun. '10 Russische Truppen in Abchasien halten Übungen ab
Russian troops deployed in breakaway Abkhazia launched three-day military exercises on June 23, the Russian news agency, Itar-Tass, reported.
Drills are taking place at Nagvalou firing range in Ochamchire district with involvement of battle tanks, armored vehicles and air defense systems, a spokesman for the Russia’s North Caucasus Military District, Andrey Borbun, told Itar-Tass.
He said that the troops would practice in carrying out military operations in mountainous areas, “in search and liquidation of terrorist groups” and “in perfection of interoperability” between land forces deployed in Abkhazia, Russian Black Sea Fleet, Abkhazia-based border guard troops of Russian Federal Security Service and local Abkhaz military.
The scenario of military exercises also includes repelling enemy’s artillery and air attacks, as well as attack from sea, the Russian military official was quoted.
23 Jun. '10 Parlamentspräsident Bakradze trifft NATO-Generalsekretär Rasmussen in Brüssel
23 Jun. '10 Bald Änderungen in der Regierung auf einigen Positionen erwartet
23 Jun. '10 Vertreter des int. Gerichtshofs besuchen Georgien
22 Jun. '10 Abgeordnete starten Diskussion zur Änderung des Steuerrechts
22 Jun. '10 Soldat in einer Militäreinheit getötet
22 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Wenn Georgien sein Entwicklungstempo beibeahlten kann, wird es in 5-7 Jahren wie Dubai sein
If Georgia keeps its pace of development, it will reach the level of Dubai in five or seven years, President Saakashvili said in Batumi late on Monday evening.
"I have recently been in Dubai and I want to tell you without any exaggeration - it is said about me that I love exaggerating - but I can say without any hyperbolization, that if Georgia continues developing like it does now, we'll be there, where Dubai is now in five, six, or seven years," he said.
"On the one hand we are the country, which has incredible poverty... and on the other hand, here is the leading Ukrainian magazine, Korrespondent [showing the magazine's one of the recent issues], which speaks in its cover story about the Georgian miracle... 'Georgian youth turns the country into Singapore and Hong Kong' - these are not my words, this is [the magazine's] enthusiastic story about Georgia."
Saakashvili said that the Ukrainian authorities were willing to learn from Georgia's experience of reforms.
"We also learn from the experience of countries, which are smaller than us - Singapore, towards which we aspire, is smaller with territory than Georgia, Dubai is also smaller than [Georgia]," he said.
He also said that with a landslide victory in the local elections, the ruling National Movement party could now afford itself "to spend popularity" on reforms and first of all in education system, in particular "on modernization of the entire society through education."
He said that the elections showed authorities' course of reforms enjoyed with support and added that 80% of young voters, between the age of 18 to 25, as well as "the poorest part of our society" were the strongest voter base of the ruling party.
21 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili zu Treffen mit der Telekommunikationsfirma Etisalat in Dubai
21 Jun. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze in Deutschland: geplant sind Treffen mit Außenminister Guido Westerwelle, Kanzlerin Angela Merkel und dem Merkel-Berater  Christoph Heusgen
19 Jun. '10 Von Regierung vorgeschlagene Gesetzesänderung im Steuerrecht läßt bei Printmedien Alarmglocken läuten
Das neue Gesetz könnte mehr Steuern für die Druckpresse bedeuten.
18 Jun. '10 Parlament ändert den Staatshaushalt für 2010
18 Jun. '10 Regierung schlägt ‘steuerfreie Zone’ für IT-Firmen vor
18 Jun. '10 Veränderungen im Kabinett in Erwägung gezogen
18 Jun. '10 Parlament bestätigt formal drei neue Abgeordnete
17 Jun. '10 EU und Georgien unterzeichnen ein Abkommen zu Visaerleichterungen
17 Jun. '10 Stadtrat von Tbilisi hält die Eröffnungssitzung ab
17 Jun. '10 Zentralbank hebt den Leitzinssatz auf 6.25%
16 Jun. '10 "New Rights" und "Republicans" zum Auseinanderbrechen der "Allianz für Georgien"
16 Jun. '10 Empfehlungen der Venidig Kommission zum Wahlmodus
16 Jun. '10 Auslandsinvestitionen im ersten Quartal auf 75.7 Mio. USD gesunken
16 Jun. '10 Allianz für Georgien hat sich aufgelöst
15 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili zu den Visionen der Regierungspartei
15 Jun. '10 Endgültiges Wahlergebnis für Tbilisi bestätigt
15 Jun. '10 UPDATE: finazielle Unterstützungen für die Wahlkampfkampagnen
14 Jun. '10 Armenischer Außenminischter Edward Nalbandian besucht Georgien
14 Jun. '10 Staatsminister für Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili spricht von ‘Ethnischer Säuberung der Usbeken’ in Kyrgyzstan
14 Jun. '10 PACE-Präsident Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu besucht Georgien
13 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Konstitution wird nicht auf Personen zugeschnitten
- "Georgien wird 2013 einen neuen Präsident haben"
- "Es ist nicht mein Ziel, in der Politik zu bleiben"
- "Das Ziel ist die Fortsetzung der Reformen"
#  "Georgia will have new President" in 2013;
# "My goal is not to remain in politics";
# "Goal is continuation of reforms"
President Saakashvili said on June 12 that the new constitution "will not be tailored on personalities" and his goal was not staying in power, but securing continuation of reforms launched by the current leadership. 
The state commission on constitutional reform endorsed on May 11 a basic draft of the constitution, which envisages giving more powers to PM at the expense of the President. The draft, which has yet to be endorsed by the Parliament - no formal deadlines are set when it should happen and the document is still the initial draft, which may undergo further amendments - triggered lots of speculation recently that Saakashvili was paving way for remaining in power after expiration of his presidential term by eying PM's post. These speculation were further fueled by Saakashvili remarks in an interview with the French daily Le Monde in which he said, that he had thought of becoming PM, but “too many uncertainties remain for now.”
"With the local elections over, now a new issue is being debated - what will happen in 2013," Saakashvili said while speaking at Kutaisi-based School of Public Administration.
He said that some already started questioning whether it would be possible "not to see this horrible Saakashvili any more from 2013?.
"I want to tell you that we will never be Bantustan where constitution and laws are tailored on personalities. The constitutional model, which will be created in Georgia, will be democratic, European and the best one. It means that maximum possible number of people will be able to participate in the process of country's governing, regardless of where do they live and regardless of thier origins," he said.
"Of course many new leaders will emerge; of course Georgia will have a new President; of course Georgia will have maximally representative government and for sure it will be the government, which will represent the interests of the Georgian people and which will be under the Georgian people's control."
"Who will be these people [in the government]? Of course I wish the reformers' team to continue its work, so that not to hinder these reforms. But at the same time I wish these reforms to be accepted by maximally large number of political parties" in order to secure continuation of reforms even in case they come into the government, Saakashvili said.
"My goal is not to keep myself or any of my allies in the politics - God saves us from that. Our goal is to maintain these reforms," he said. }We have proved that this country belongs not to personalities like Shevardnadze, Saakashvili... It belongs to us all."
He also said that Georgia major goal was "to develop fast", as moving forward "slowly" would not be enough to strengthen the country.
"The country faces serious challenges and threats. We have managed to create something which is different from everything that is around us [in Georgia's neighborhood] and for that reason we face even more threats - we have established modern statehood for the first time in many hundreds of years in the Caucasus," Saakashvili said.

12 Jun. '10

Vorsitzender der nationalen US-Nuklearsicherheitsadministration besucht Georgien

Thomas P. D’Agostino, head of the U.S. department of energy’s national nuclear security administration (NNSA), will arrive in Georgia on Sunday for a two day visit, the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said.
During the meetings with government officials, including from the Interior Ministry, he will discuss the U.S.-Georgia cooperation “on improving Georgia's capabilities to combat nuclear smuggling,” the embassy said.
NNSA has been cooperating with the Georgian Border Police and Customs since 2005 in frames of Second Line of Defense Program, designed to help U.S. partner countries strengthen the capabilities to deter, detect and prevent illicit trafficking of nuclear materials.
Since then the U.S. is providing Georgia radiation detection equipment and sustainable training for screening at airports, seaports and its land border crossings. “Upon program completion, an estimated 98% of trans-border traffic will be screened for nuclear and other radioactive materials out of regulatory control,” the embassy said.

11 Jun. '10

Russischer Außenminister Lavrov: die Frage bezüglich Südossetien und Abchasien ist "endgültig und irreversibel"

The issue of South Ossetia and Abkhazia is already solved “finally and irreversibly” not only for Russia, but for “other serious countries” as well, Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said.
“They simply can not acknowledge because of political correctness or some other political reasons,” Lavrov said in an interview with the Russian daily, Kommersant, published on June 11.
“I have said numerously that it was not our choice and all the complaints should be addressed to Mikheil Saakashvili, who trampled the territorial integrity of Georgia.”
Asked what did he mean when he said recently that immediately after the August, 2008, Georgia still had a chance to maintain possibility for restoration of territorial integrity, Lavrov responded: “When the purpose of the operation aimed at suppressing the aggression was fulfilled and the Russian President ordered to suspend a military operation, the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan was agreed, which laid the foundation for future actions. Its sixth point contained a provision on the need to launch international discussions over defining the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and ensuring their security. We have undersigned it. So, on August 12, 2008 the Russian President agreed that the status of these regions needed to be discussed on an international level.”
He said that from that point Russia was ready to continue discussions about the status of these two regions.
“The document was agreed. French President Nicolas Sarkozy took it to Tbilisi. Then he called and said that Saakashvili was categorically against discussing the status of these republics and that for him the status was in itself already obvious and this phrase should be removed [from the six-point agreement]. We agreed [to remove it],” Lavrov said.
“By the way, Saakashvili was also manipulating with other parts of the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan. Six points were preceded by a preamble, which said: the Presidents of Russian Federation and France approve the underwritten principles and call on the sides to fulfill them. In the document, which Saakashvili finally agreed to sign, he not only removed the phrase about the status of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but he also edited out the preamble and is now saying that the document calls, including on Russia, to stop doing various things. The preamble was unambiguously saying that the two Presidents were calling on the sides to do this and that. That is why it is called the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan.”
Responding to a question about calls on Russia to fully fulfill its obligations under the six-point plan, in particular in respect of pulling troops to pre-August war positions, Lavrov said that Russia had already withdrawn its forces, which were sent during the war.
“By that time discussions on the status have been thwarted and revanchist statements, like the war is not yet over, were heard from Tbilisi , so by the end of August [2008] it was decided that there was no other way to provide the security and survival of Abkhazians and South Ossetians, rather than to recognize their independence,” Lavrov said.
“Currently Russian troops are stationed in both South Ossetia and Abkhazia are stationed there based on agreements between Russia and two states recognized by it. Russia has fulfilled the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan in this part.”
“By the way, those people, who say that we should return to the pre-August 8 line, forget that before August 8, 2008 our troops were stationed deep into the Georgia territory, because the peacekeepers were deployed not only in South Ossetia, which was then a part of Georgia, but also beyond its limits. The same situation was respect of Abkhazia. Therefore, if they call on us to move beyond South Ossetia and Abkhazia and to locate on the line, where the security was provided by our peacekeepers before August 8, 2008, I would be glad if we were told about it directly,” Lavrov said.

11 Jun. '10

Ukrainischer Präsident trifft Außenminister Grigol Vashadze in Kiew

Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, met on June 11 with Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, who pays a working visit to Kiev.
"We are eager to further develop cooperation with Georgia and our mutually beneficial trade and economic relations," Yanukovych said, adding that a potential for increasing economic cooperation between the two countries was not fully used.
"We believe that there are promising opportunities to develop our trade and economic relations and create favorable conditions for growth of the turnover between Ukraine and Georgia," he said.
Yanukovych also said that inter-governmental commission of Ukraine and Georgia should elaborate concrete steps on how to boost trade and economic ties between the two countries.
Ukraine was Georgia’s third largest trading partner with USD 502.3 million, down from USD 791,8 million in 2008. In the first quarter of 2010 trade turnover between Georgia and Ukraine was USD 127 million – the third after Turkey and Azerbaijan, according to the Georgian statistics agency.

11 Jun. '10 Ex-Premierminister Nogaideli und Ex-Verteidigungsminister Okruashvili zeigen Zeichen einer Allianz
11 Jun. '10 NATO-Georgien-Kommission im Kreis der Verteidigungsminister in Brüssel
11 Jun. '10

US-Politiker Michael McFaul über die Obama-Politik des "Reset-Button" Gegenüber Russland: ‘Wir übergehen Georgien nicht ... wir tun diese Dinge parallel, aber wir verbinden sie nicht ... wir beenden nicht unsere Unstützung für Georgien ...’

It remains the Obama administration’s foreign policy objective “to end Russian occupation” of parts of Georgian territory, although there is no progress in pursuing this objective, a senior White House adviser on Russia said on June 10.
Michael McFaul, the U.S. President’s special assistant and senior director for Russian and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council, has strongly rejected a notion that Washington was abandoning Georgia, at the expense of hitting a reset button with Russia.
Speaking at Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics McFaul laid out key principles of the Obama administration’s reset policy with Russia saying that from the very start of his presidential tenure Obama’s “principle observation” was that the dangerous drift in the U.S.-Russia relations, which started even before “Russian invasion of Georgia” in August, 2008, was not in the Washington’s nation interests.
He said that most of the central challenges of the U.S. national interests were not at all at odds with those of the Russian Federation, including on issues like Afghanistan, nonproliferation, reducing nuclear arsenal.
McFaul said that an important part of the Obama administration’s Russia policy was “to deliberately avoid linkage between issue areas that have nothing to do with each other” – for example, he said, it was not a precondition to negotiate START treaty for release of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, imprisoned former Yukos oil tycoon.
As another example he brought Georgia’s case and said: “We are deliberately not pushing for the end of the occupation of Georgia to resubmit 123 agreement” – a peaceful nuclear treaty with Russia.
When President Obama resubmitted the treaty to the Congress on May 10 he wrote in the message to lawmakers that “the situation in Georgia need no longer be considered an obstacle to proceeding with the proposed Agreement.” Remarks were criticized by Obama’s former presidential challenger, senator John McCain, saying that such stance was fueling sentiments that Washington “is selling” Georgia “out to Moscow as the price of our ‘hitting the reset button’.”
But as McFaul said the Administration’s strategy “does not mean that we are ignoring Georgia… We are doing these things in parallel, but we are not linking them.”
At the same time, he said, the Administration was not “allowing our Russian colleagues to link things that they want to link.”
“So we are not ending our assistance to Georgia [and] throwing Georgians under the bus in the name of UN Security Council resolution – that was a proposition put to us a long time ago and we said: ‘we're not gonna play that game’,” McFaul said.
After speaking about the issues on which he thought progress had been achieved with Russia as part of reset policy, McFaul then listed areas where no progress was observed.
“On the top of my list are Georgia and democracy [in Russia],” McFaul said.
“Is it a foreign policy objective of the Obama administration to help end Russia’s occupation of Georgia in a peaceful manner and restore Georgia territorial integrity? Absolutely yes; that’s the objective we have. We have other goals with Georgia as well: we have a goal of enhancing stability in Georgia and in the region; we have a goal of enhancing democracy and we have a goal of enhancing economic growth in Georgia and we are doing all those things simultaneously.”
“Have we made progress on that central objective? My answer is ‘no’; we have not; that’s the truth. So we have the goal, we have the strategy that we are pursuing and we’ll pursue that when President Medvedev is here [this month]. And have we made real progress in restoring Georgia’s sovereignty? My answer is ‘no’.” he said.
Also on June 10, the U.S. Department of State spokesman, Philip J. Crowley, told a news briefing in Washington that Georgia and in particular situation in its breakaway regions remained a source of disagreement between the U.S. and Russia.
“We still do not see eye-to-eye on all aspects of that,” Crowley said. “We’ve certainly not forgotten what happened in the crisis between Georgia and Russia. We continue to make clear to Russia that the situation needs to change. And we continue to support Georgia in terms of its territorial integrity and its rights in the region.”
He also said that Washington was “actively engaged” with Russia on these issues.
“Regional security issues are an inherent part of our ongoing dialogue with Russia,” Crowley said.

10 Jun. '10 Regierung schlägt Budgetänderungen vor: durch Steuermehreinnahmen und EU-Hilfen sollen 215 Mio. GEL mehr ausgegeben werden
... According to the draft, the government will allocate additional GEL 24, 2 million for housing program for internally displaced persons and GEL 3.4 million for covering their utility tariffs.
GEL 9.4 will be allocated for rehabilitation and construction of facilities in penitentiary system; GEL 12.5 million – for rehabilitation of water supply systems; GEL 23.8 million – for tourism and road infrastructure; GEL 20 million – for co-funding of construction of high-voltage power transmission line; GEL 2.6 million will be spent to purchase of the building of Georgian Embassy in Germany, according to the draft.
10 Jun. '10 Außenminister Vashadze besucht die Ukraine
“The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry expresses unconditional support for Georgia’s territorial integrity,” Vashadze said after the meeting.
10 Jun. '10 weitere Ergebnisse aus der Wahlbeobachtung von Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) vorgelegt
During five weeks in run up to the May 30 local elections and a week after the polling day, Kavkasia TV has allocated more airtime to Tbilisi mayoral candidates and parties in its main news bulletins, then other five TV channels, which were monitored in frames of project supported by EU Delegation to Georgia and UN Development Programme (UNDP).
In a period from April 26 to June 6 Imedi TV dedicated almost half of its election-related overage to the incumbent Tbilisi mayor candidate, Gigi Ugulava - more than any other five television stations. Ugulava’s coverage dominated on other TV channels as well, except of Kavkasia TV, which allocated almost equal time to the incumbent and leader of Alliance for Georgia, Irakli Alasania.
Follow links below to view details of monitoring results:
Length of coverage time allocated to candidates and coverage tone April 26-June 6 – pdf
Media monitoring was carried out by Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC).
According to a separate media monitoring, carried out by the OSCE/ODIHR international observation mission, covering six weeks before the election day, the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s First Channel offered viewers “a balanced picture of the campaign in its news.”
“The campaign coverage in news programs of all other monitored television channels lacked balance,” according to the report.
Rustavi 2, Imedi TV, as well as Adjara TV and local Tbilisi station Real TV demonstrated support for the ruling party and its Tbilisi mayoral candidate with Real TV also producing programs “discrediting opposition candidates,” according to OSCE/ODIHR report. Kavkasia TV and Maestro TV, by contrast, served as a platform for the opposition, in particular the Alliance for Georgia, it said.
9 Jun. '10 Russischer Präsident Putin: Keine Notwendigkeit Kriegsschiff "Mistral" gegen Georgien zu gebrauchen
Russia has no need to use French warships, Mistral, which it plans to buy, against Georgia, Russian PM Vladimir Putin said ahead of his visit to France.
“I hope events will never again lead to military conflict between Russia and Georgia, never. We have been doing everything previously and are intending to do everything for preventing reoccurrence of this tragedy. Modern offensive systems make it possible to carry out any military operation deep into the entire territory of Georgia from the Russian territory and no Mistral is needed for that,” Putin said in an interview with Agence France-Presse (AFP) and France 2 television.
“[Mistral] is an offensive weapon. Has France such helicopter carriers [Mistrals] in its armament? Yes, it has. Whom is France going to attack? No one. Why do people automatically assume that Russia will of course have to use this to attack someone? If you mean – and let’s put it bluntly – for example, our Georgian neighbors… Georgia has a huge land border with Russia. As a result of a criminal action, which was launched by President Saakashvili two years ago, people have died. And Russia had to defend the lives of its peacekeepers and citizens of South Ossetia. And, as it is known, Russia had, I want to stress it, to use its armed forces for defensive purposes,” the Russian PM said.
“We have stopped [Russian army’s advance] 20-15 kilometers from Tbilisi, and not because we could not enter Tbilisi, but because we did not want it. We did not want any hostilities at all. Just that is why our peacekeepers were staying there,” he said.
9 Jun. '10 Angespannte Gespräche in der elften Runde der Genfer Gespräche
... The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that "despite the unconstructiveness of some participants, Geneva Discussions represent a valuable forum" and expressed readiness "to continue full and constructive engagement in the talks with an aim of discussing all outstanding issues, including the most sensitive and controversial ones." ...
8 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili trifft franz. Präsident Sarkozy
Sarkozy: " ... Frankreich unterstützt Georgien absolut in jeder Frage ohne Vorbedingungen ..."
8 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili über Pläne nach der Präsidentschaft
... es gibt viele Unsicherheiten ... denkt an Position des Premierministers ...
8 Jun. '10 EUMM besorgte über die Vorfälle in Gali
EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) said it was “concerned” about reports of recent incidents in Gali district of breakaway Abkhazia, which had resulted in the deaths of three local officials, injuries to others, various detentions and reports of some homes being set on fire.
Abkhaz sources reported that an Abkhaz customs officer was killed in an attack in Gali district on June 1 and in a separate shooting incident head of the local administration of a village in Gali district was killed on June 3.
The Georgian sources reported on June 6 that the Abkhaz militia set on fire several houses in the village of Dikhazurga of the Gali district and arrested several local residents there.
“This is a rapidly changing situation and the details remain unclear,” EUMM said in a statement on June 7. “As EUMM has no direct access to the area, it can not ascertain the exact nature or dynamics of these incidents. Whilst local investigations are underway though, it is very important that all sides refrain from comments that could further increase tension in the area. Restraint is needed to ensure that the confidence of the local population is not harmed and stability not endangered.”
The mission has called on the sides to hold a meeting “as soon as possible to ensure co-operation in resolving this situation.”
7 Jun. '10 International Crisis Group (ICG) legt Bericht zur Abhängigkeit Tskhinvali’s von Russland vor
"... wandelt sich in eine russische Garnison, da das russische Militär schon ein Sechstel  der Bevölkerung stellt ..."
Recognition of breakaway South Ossetia by Moscow, where the Russian military already accounts for about one sixth of the region’s declining population, has “consolidated its dependence” on Russia, a Brussels-based think tank, International Crisis Group (ICG), said in its report released on June 7.
Like ICG’s report on Abkhazia, released this February, the report on South Ossetia - Burden of Recognition - reviews key developments in the breakaway region after its recognition by Russia and analyses the economic, political situation in the region, as well as issues related to population and Russia’s military build up following the August war.
South Ossetia, the report says, lacks even true political, economic or military autonomy, where Moscow staffs over half the government, donates 99% of the budget and provides security.
“Since recognition, South Ossetia has increasingly come to resemble a North Caucasus republic, and Moscow’s approach to it is similar. The main difference is that in South Ossetia the president is elected rather than appointed by the Russian president,” the report reads. It also says that Russia has “inherited another volatile region in the Caucasus that it must subsidise for the sake of stability.”
Russia’s decision to recognize South Ossetia “seemed poorly thought out and impulsive,” according to the report.
It says that in private conversations, Russian diplomats and analysts question the wisdom of this decision “that not only damaged Russia’s international image but could also potentially spur secessionist sentiment in the North Caucasus.”
Citing Russian and South Ossetian analysts, the report says that without development of economy, the region will “in effect turn into a Russian garrison, since the military already accounts for about one sixth of the population.”
According to the report, western analysts estimate there are 3,000-4,500 Russian troops in South Ossetia, in addition to 900 Federal Security Service (FSB) border guards. Citing Russian sources, the report says, that Russian bases in South Ossetia have T-72 and T-90 Tanks, 150 BMP-2, 12-mm BM-21 Grad, 152mm howitzer 2C3 and S-300 air defense systems.
FSB, according to the report, is building twenty frontier posts across the administrative border line, not least to monitor Georgian military communications and movements. Setting up of these posts are expected to be completed by 2011.
“Confident of Russian protection,” the report says, authorities in the breakaway region plan to substantially downsize its military.
“To avoid turning South Ossetia into a ‘no man’s land’, all sides should address the needs and grievances of the population on the ground. Politicising issues such as freedom of movement and access for humanitarian and development organisations and observer missions comes at a high cost for the population,” the report reads.
7 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili besucht Frankreich
Beim Treffen mit Präsident Sarkozy werden neben wirtschaftlicher Zusammenarbeit auch die russischen Zusagen im Sechs-Punkte-Abkommen erörtert.
5 Jun. '10 Überblick zur Berichterstattung im Fernsehen bezüglich der lokalen Wahlen

Imedi TV has dedicated almost half of its election-related coverage in its main news programs started from April 26 to the incumbent Tbilisi mayor candidate, Gigi Ugulava - more than any other five television stations being under monitoring in frames of project supported by EU Delegation to Georgia and UN Development Programme (UNDP). Imedi TV's coverage of Ugulava was either positive or neutral.

Follow links below to view details of monitoring results:

Length of coverage time allocated to candidates and coverage tone May 26-June 1 - pdf

Aggregate results for all four weeks on length and tone of coverage April 26-June 1 – pdf

Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) has been monitoring main news bulletins and selected talk shows on three national television stations - public broadcaster's First Channel; Rustavi 2 TV and Imedi TV and three local Tbilisi stations - Kavkasia TV; Maestro TV and Real TV.

4 Jun. '10 Abchasischer Beamter in Gali getötet, nach georgischen TV-Berichten aufgrund von Auseinandersetzungen von abchasischen Beamten mit russischen Truppen um Geld, das von der ansäßigen georgischen Bevölkerung eingetrieben wurde
Head of local administration of the village of Rep in Gali district of breakaway Abkhazia, Dmitry Katsia, was shot dead late on Thursday evening, the Abkhaz news agency, Apsnipress, reported on June 4.
According to this report, Katsia’s car was attacked by armed men between the villages of Rep and Primorskoe, when he was on his way to the town of Gali at about 8:30pm local time.
“Presumably, fire was opened by three persons… Katsia died from wounds inflicted on his head,” Otar Khetsia, the breakaway region’s interior minister, was quoted by Apsnipress. 
Two days earlier before this murder, one Abkhaz customs officer was killed and two others were wounded when their car was attacked close to the village of Saberio in the Gali district.
Abkhaz leader, Sergey Bagapsh, who summoned national security council session on June 4, said “the Georgian trace in quite obvious” in both of these incidents, Apsnipress reported.
He instructed the breakaway region’s foreign ministry to raise the issue of “frequent terrorist acts” at the upcoming eleventh round of Geneva talks, planned for June 8.
“It should be stated clearly that if the Georgian side does not stop subversive acts, we will have to take adequate measures. The organizers of terrorist acts should understand that local destabilization may cause the aggravation of already uneasy situation in the region where the refugees have returned,” he said referring to Gali district, predominately populated by ethnic Georgians.
Meanwhile, the Georgian television stations reported that like in case of attack on Abkhaz customs officers, the recent incident was also a result of a clash between the Abkhaz officials and the Russian troops, which was triggered by disagreement about money seized from the local Georgian population.
Rustavi 2 TV and Georgian Public Broadcaster also aired remarks by a Georgian official from the Abkhaz government-in-exile, Tornike Kilanava, who often acts as an official speaker commenting on Gali-related developments. He said: “They [Abkhaz officials and Russian soldiers] were sharing money seized from the local population, which resulted into [shootout] and death of Dmitry Katsia, who was notorious for his cruelty against Georgians; he led several punitive operations against the local population, intimidating and terrorizing the local population [of Gali district].”
In a separate Gali-related report also on June 4, the Georgian television stations said that week ago an attack occurred on a Georgian family in the village of Otobaia; the Georgian Public Broadcaster reported that attackers “tortured” a man and his wife in an attempt to extort money from the family. Victims were able to arrive in Zugdidi hospital only after a week from the attack, “as Russian occupants were not allowing” them to cross the administrative border.
4 Jun. '10 Ukrainischer Präsident Yanukovych: Anerkennung von Abchasien, Südossetien und Kosovo seien eine Verletzung internationaler Gesetze und Normen
Recognition of breakaway Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Kosovo as independent states is “a violation of international laws and norms,” Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych said on June 4, as quoted by the Russian news agencies.
“I have never recognized Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Kosovo as independent states,” he said at a news conference. “There are international norms and laws which prohibit infringement of territorial integrity of any state. We have no right to welcome those processes in the world, where violation of territorial integrity of a country is taking place.”
4 Jun. '10 NATO-Generalsekretär Anders Fogh Rasmussen zu lokalen Wahlen in Georgien: "... frei und fair ... mit positiver Wirkung für die NATO-Beziehungen ..."
The way how May 30 local elections were held in Georgia will have “a positive impact” on NATO-Georgia relations, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO secretary general, said while speaking at a session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Riga on June 1.
He made the remarks in response to a question asked by a Georgian lawmaker from the ruling party, Giorgi Kandelaki, during the question and answer session.
“We appreciate that elections took place in a way, which has been recognized as free and fair by the international community. You asked me which impact these elections will have on Georgia’s relationship with NATO. Of course the positive impact. But I have also to say, we had expected these elections to take place in a way which could be considered as free and fair. It is of course an important element in Georgia’s fulfillment of the requirement within NATO-Georgia Commission and the Annual National Programme [a document, laying out the country’s reform targets],” Rasmussen said.
4 Jun. '10 "Alliance for Georgia" zweifelt das Ergebnis in einem Wahldistrikt in Tbilisi an
Davit Saganelidze von der "New Rights Party" reklamiert Wahlfälschung, obwohl Vakhtang Natsvlishvili bereits vorher einen knappen Vorsprung hatte.
Alliance for Georgia said it was challenging early results of elections in one of Tbilisi’s single-mandate constituencies in an attempt to secure one more seat in the Tbilisi City Council.
Davit Saganelidze of New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, was running in majoritarian contest in one of single mandate constituencies of Tbilisi’s Vake district. According to the early results a ruling party candidate, Vakhtang Natsvlishvili, has a narrow lead over Saganelidze; but the latter claims that his rival candidate gained more votes only as a result of “falsification” that occurred during the vote count in several precincts of the constituency, which should become a reason for a repeat vote.
As of late June 3, according to Central Election Commission, vote results of only five precincts have been annulled - all in provinces, including three in Lagodekhi, Mestia and Mtskheta districts and two precincts in Sagarejo district.
Voting for majoritarian candidates was not held at all in three precincts, located in Tsalka, Tsageri and Oni districts, because of the problems related to majoritarian contest ballot papers.
Repeat elections in all of these precincts will be held tentatively on June 12, according to the Central Election Commission.
3 Jun. '10 Polizei hat fünf Mitglieder eines "internationalen Drogenkartells" verhaftet, welche Kokain in großen Mengen von Südamerika über Georgien in die Türkei schmuggeln
Georgian Interior Ministry said on Thursday it had detained five members of “international drug cartel” engaged in trafficking of large amount of cocaine from Latin America into Turkey via Georgia.
The most recent case of trafficking by the group, the ministry said, occurred in July 2009, when 90 kilos of cocaine, hidden among scrap metal on cargo vessel, was shipped to Georgia’s Black Sea port of Poti. Reported shipped cocaine was not seized. The ministry said that cocaine, hidden in a car’s bumper, was then smuggled to Turkey. Police said it seized EUR 1.7 million hidden in the ground of yard of a house in western Georgia, belonging to one of the arrested persons.
Police said a Georgian-born Greek citizen, now living in Spain, led the group, organizing shipments. The Interior Ministry said that his five accomplices in Georgia were arrested.
“This is the first case when such large amount of cocaine emerged on the Georgian market,” Shota Utiashvili, head of the interior ministry’s information and analytical department, said.
He said that operation was not coordinated with foreign law enforcement agencies, although added that the Georgian Interior Ministry planned to send investigators to Spain as part of ongoing investigation into the case.
3 Jun. '10 Präsident Saakashvili besucht Rumänien mit Gesprächen über ein Pipeline-Projekt Aserbaidschan-Georgien-Rumänien
... He said that the Romanian-proposed project to transport Caspian gas to Europe via Georgia, known as Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania Interconnection (AGRI) was “an important” part of discussions.
Last month state energy companies of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Romania agreed to set up a Bucharest-based joint venture to proceed with the project, which envisages transportation of about 7 billion cubic meters of Azerbaijani gas through pipeline to Georgia’s port of Poti and then to Romanian port of Constanţa via Black Sea on tankers. ...
3 Jun. '10 USA über die lokalen Wahlen in Georgien: Fortschritte zu int. Standards
Echoing OSCE observation mission’s findings, the U.S. Department of State said Georgia’s May 30 local elections marked progress towards meeting international standards for democratic elections.
“But we also agree with the OSCE that significant shortcomings need to be addressed,” Philip J. Crowley, a spokesman for the Department of State, said on June 2.
“We are encouraged by the Central Election Commission’s efforts to increase transparency and responsiveness to electoral concerns,” he said.
The Central Election Commission (CEC) said on June 2 that results in five precincts were annulled, because of violations observed during the vote count in those polling stations and in one case – precinct in Mestia district - vote summary protocol was missing.
CEC has time to approve final vote tally protocol till June 23.
3 Jun. '10 Alasania nennt das Wahlergebnis "noch weit entfernt von einem Erfolg, aber schafft eine Basis für einen Erfolg bei den Parlamentswahlen 2012"
Irakli Alasania, leader of four-party Alliance for Georgia (AFG), said the local election result was far from being a success for his coalition, but it created opportunity on which success could be built for 2012 parliamentary elections.
"Improvement of the current electoral environment and winning the parliamentary elections - these are the issues on which we are now focused," he told Tbilisi-based Maestro TV's program, Straightforward Conversation, late on June 2.
Alasania came second in the Tbilisi mayoral race after the incumbent with 19% of votes.
Referring to President Saakashvili's remarks made earlier on June 2 about the next elections, Alasania warned the authorities not to try "to tailor new constitution on thier own interests."
President Saakashvili said at government session: “The nearest elections will not be held within, at least, two years or even more – I do not know exactly how [new] constitution will be formulated."
"I want to warn the authorities, that our patience also has limits," Alasania said. "If the authorities started to tailor the constitution on thier own interests, it will have irreconcilable response from us, as well as from the international community."
He also said that new constitution should be endorsed through referendum and the new constitution's "legitimacy will be doubtful" if it was passed by the sitting parliament.
He said that the results of the local elections took AFG on the top of the opposition forces making it "a leading opposition force in the country."
But AFG's claims on this status are challenged by Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority.
Although CDM came third in Tbilisi elections with 12% after the ruling party (52.5%) and AFG (18%), it has out-polled other opposition parties, including AFG in majority of provincial municipalities. CDM also received much more votes in large towns - Kutaisi, Rustavi, Batumi and Poti - than AFG (for details see the results on the map).
MP Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of CDM, said after the elections that the results were success for his party.
“If any political organization has a firm ground to talk about success, it is us, the Christian-Democratic Movement, which gained the firm first place on the opposition front throughout Georgia,” he said.
Alasania, however, said that his alliance received in the provinces more than he expected. "It was a surprise for me," he said and added that the Alliance was making focus mainly on the contest in Tbilisi and it had not enough financial and human resources to properly campaign in the regions.
In general all the parties were making major focus on the Tbilisi contest, but the ruling party and CDM carried out more active campaigning in the regions than any other political party.
 Alasania said that as part of preparing for the next elections, his coalition and in particular his party, Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD), which he established year ago, would also focus on building party infrastructure in the regions. 
He acknowledged that he was a bit disappointed with voter turnout in Tbilisi, 46.6%, as he expected about 60% or even 65%. Alasania said that some opposition parties' stance, apparently referring to those who were boycotting the elections, contributed to "nihilism" among part of opposition-minded voters.
He also said that the major achievement of the elections was that the developments had eventually moved "from stone-throwing into political process". "There is no other alternative rather than elections in order to change the government," he said.
2 Jun. '10 Parteigruppierung "National Council" über die lokalen Wahlen: ... nennenswerte Verletzungen, Druck auf Wähler, weit entfernt von frei und fair ...
National Council, a coalition uniting Conservative Party, Party of People and ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia, said local elections were marred by significant violations including pressure on voters and the polls could not be considered as free and fair.
“Hence, the National Council is not joining congratulations extended to the ruling party, because the election results are not based on free choice of the Georgian citizens,” the National Council said in a statement on June 2.
It also said that the coalition would continue to address violations observed during the elections through legal means including court proceedings.
The National Council said the opposition’s failure to unit and challenge the ruling party with united front was “the major reason” of the opposition’s failure in the local elections.
With slightly over 8%, the National Council was fourth in Tbilisi after the ruling National Movement party, Alliance for Georgia and Christian-Democratic Movement.
The National Council performed better in some provincial constituencies. It outpolled other opposition parties in at least seven provincial constituencies coming second after the ruling party in Adjara Autonomous Republic’s Kobuleti and Khulo, as well as in mountainous districts of Dusheti, Kazbegi, Tianeti. According to the results available as of now, the National Council has cleared 5% threshold, necessary for endorsing its candidates through party-list, proportional system in at least 23 municipalities. (For details see the map of election results).
“The National Council does not deem clearing threshold as a success in the local elections. The only success in today’s Georgia can be change of the Saakashvili’s regime… The National Council will continue fight for the change of the Saakashvili regime and is ready to cooperate with everyone, whose goal is a real change of these authorities,” the coalition said.
2 Jun. '10 Litauisches Parlament verurteilt die "Okkupation" von Abchasien und Südossetien in einer neuen Resolution
Lithuanian Parliament passed a resolution on June 1 condemning “aggression” and “occupation” parts of Georgian territories by Russia.
The resolution was welcomed in Tbilisi with officials highlighting the fact that the resolution describes breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as occupied territories.
Georgian Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, said that use of term “occupation” in the Lithuanian Parliament’s resolution “is very important, especially in the view that it is the Parliament of EU and NATO member country.”
“We are very grateful to our Lithuanian friends,” he said. “We will continue our efforts directed towards having this term – occupation – mentioned by the Parliaments of other countries – that means that Russia would eventually be forced to withdraw from Georgia like it from Eastern Europe and the Baltic States.”
Georgian parliamentary committee for foreign relations has recently sent a letter to lawmakers from 31 countries requesting to “declare the two Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as being territories under Russian occupation and recognise the ethnic cleansing committed by Russia”.
“This process has started with Lithuania, which is the first European country to pass such resolution; this is the first and others will follow; I promise the similar resolutions will be passed by the parliaments of many countries and even by the European Parliament,” Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister, said on June 2.
The European Parliament last month was considering using term “occupied territories” in reference to Abkhazia and South Ossetia in its resolution on South Caucasus, but the term was removed from the draft and not included in the final text adopted on May 20.
27 May. '10 Local Observers
21 May. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: ‘Wahlen sollten Beispiel sein’
President Saakashvili said on May 21, that the upcoming local elections should be “exemplary” as they have huge importance for country’s security.
“I think that we, as the best organized and leading political force in Georgia, have a double responsibility,” Saakashvili said in televised remarks made at a meeting with lawmakers from his ruling National Movement party.
“The first is to maintain the existing course of reforms – despite all difficulties, despite the fact that a new wave of economic crisis is raging in the world – and to bring the launched work to the end. And the second is to hold exemplary elections so that nobody has a reason to put a justified blame on us, as [these local elections] have a great internal and external political importance in terms of our security,” he said.
“I think that many steps were made forward by the election commission recently. There is unimaginable accessibility to media outlets. I do not know any election campaigns in many places of the world where all parties can talk on all TV channels for so many hours, where all parties can put their ads on all TV channels, including unprofitably for these channels, and of course, it has not remained unnoticed, including for foreign observers.”
He criticized opposition for making, as he said, unrealistic election promises of “cosmic scales”.
“I want to call on various political forces for more responsibility. I no not mean those people, who are openly linked with Georgia’s enemy, with the occupant of the Georgian territory… Calling them for responsibility is not our business; I think the society will rule its verdict against them,” Saakashvili said. “I am talking about those political forces, who have ambitions that they are participants of Georgia’s internal political processes, who act in favor of the country’s interests and observe the rules of the game.”
“We also were in the opposition and you remember that our promises were quite minimalistic because we were promising only what we thought would be easy to fulfill. And you know that more has been done then we promised, but our [the ruling party’s election campaign] slogan says ‘a lot remains to be done’.”
“When [politicians] are in panic because of their decreasing ratings and when they promise everything – probably they will soon even promise a trip to the Mars and the Moon – it goes beyond limits. They promise free healthcare, free medicines, free food, free travel, free life – a highest level of communism,” Saakashvili said.
“Of course, people live in hardship, but no one should think that it is easy to fool people if they live in hardship. We have many poor people but we really do not have uninformed society. Why do they think that our people is so naïve that they will swallow these [promises].”
“The main political capital of the National Movement, accumulated over these years, is that we will never give empty promises,” he continued. “It’s Better to promise less and fulfill more. We should never tell a lie. The key political culture, which I think, the National Movement has established in Georgia… is that we always say the truth or at least we do not tell a lie. Nobody should ever be able to turn a lie into a tool of making politics.”
In an apparent reference to Russia, Saakashvili said that “one force and the leadership of one country wants to ruin Georgia.”
“But despite of these attempts we will hold these elections in an organized way and calmly. We all know that some people will definitely start shouting in advance that the elections were rigged,” he said.
“We have made election administrations transparent, media outlets and televisions have become completely available. So, let us make the election day process transparent for everybody.”
He also said it was a positive trend that “more professional, business-like” political discussions were ongoing ahead of the elections.
“No radicalism is fashionable among politicians,” he said. “It proves that the society has developed and gained experience.”
21 May. '10 Übersicht zur lokalen Wahl
Voters in Georgia will elect 64 new municipal councils in May 30 local elections for a four-year term.
The major focus of the local elections is made on contest in the capital city, Tbilisi, which will directly elect its mayor for the first time.
Outcome of mayoral contest, as well as of party contest for Tbilisi Sakrebulo (City Council), in the capital city, where one-third of the country’s voters are concentrated, is believed to largely determine the country’s political landscape in run up to presidential elections in 2013, when Mikheil Saakashvili’s second and final term in office expires.
Municipal Councils (Sakrebulo)
Formally there are 69 local municipal councils (Sakrebulo), but authority of five of them will be automatically prolonged without elections; these are those five councils, which before the August, 2008 were located in the Georgian-controlled areas of breakaway Abkhazia (in Kodori gorge) and South Ossetia (Eredvi, Tigvi, Kurta and Akhalgori).
All the Councils are composed through both majoritarian and party-list, proportional system.
Proportional Contest
The seats allocated under the proportional system are distributed to the parties and election blocs, which clear a 5% threshold in provincial regions.
Lower threshold of 4% is set for Tbilisi City Council proportional contest.
Number of seats in majority of Councils distributed through proportional system is 10.
Exception is the capital city, where total of 25 proportional seats are for grab and three other major cities – Kutaisi, Batumi and Rustavi, where 15 seats in each are contested.
There are total of 670 proportional seats for grab in all 64 Councils.
Majoritarian Contest
Number of majoritarian seats varies in various municipal councils, depending on their size.
The largest is Tbilisi, where 25 majoritarian seats are for grab (there is total of 50 seats in the Tbilisi City Council).
In Tbilisi total of 228 majoritarian candidates have been nominated by about dozen of political parties and election blocs. Number of contenders in each of 25 single-mandate constituencies varies from at least 7 to 11.
Councils of three other major cities – Kutaisi, Rustavi and Batumi – have 10 majoritarian seats each and there are five majoritarian seats in Poti.
There are total of 1,025 majoritarian seats for grab in all 64 Councils.
Mayoral Race
Tbilisi is the only city in Georgia where mayor is elected through direct vote.
Mayors of four other major cities – Kutaisi, Rustavi, Batumi and Poti – are elected by the local municipal Councils. The same rule was applied for Tbilisi as well, but it was changed as a result of amendments to the election code in December, 2009.
In other provincial municipalities, a head of district (Gamgebeli as it is called in Georgian) is appointed through the approval of local Councils.
There are nine candidates running for the Tbilisi mayoral office:
    * Gigi Ugulava, an incumbent Tbilisi mayor, nominated by the ruling party;
    * Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia;
    * Giorgi Chanturia, nominated by Christian-Democratic Movement;
    * Gogi Topadze, leader of Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists);
    * Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party, nominated by a coalition, which also includes Party of People and ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia;
    * Davit Iakobidze, nominated by Democratic Party of Georgia;
    * Nika Ivanishvili, head nominated by his newly established party Popular Democrats;
    * Tamaz Vashadze, nominated by Solidarity party;
    * Giorgi Lagidze, leader of Future Georgia party.
A candidate, who receives no less than 30% votes will be declared winner. If no one clears the 30% threshold, a run off will take place within a month between the two candidates who obtain the highest number of votes.
Election Administration
Central Election Commission (CEC) is the main body administering elections.
CEC is composed of 13 members, including its chairman Zurab Kharatishvili, who was elected on the post by the Parliament in January, 2010.
Seven members of CEC are from following political parties: ruling National Movement party; Labor Party (the party boycotts the local elections); Conservative Party; Industrialists; Republican Party (part of Alliance for Georgia); On Our Own party and Christian-Democratic Movement – these two latter parties have formed an election bloc to run in the elections on a joint ticket.
Five remaining CEC members were nominated by the President and appointed by the Parliament.
There are 73 District Election Commissions (DEC) – middle-level election administrations.
There are over 3,600 Precinct Election Commissions (PEC), which are the lowest level of election administrations, but of crucial importance as they are in charge of administering polling stations and are first bodies to count votes.
Like CEC, each PEC and DEC has 13 members and distribution of seats in PECs and DECs among the political parties is similar to the one in CEC.
20 May. '10 Berufungsgericht entscheidet, dass das Enguri-Memorandum zwischen dem Energieministerium und einem russischen Energieversorger vertraulich bleibt
Die Gesellschaft der jungen Anwälte und die Zeitung Rezonansi sagten, dass sie nun den Fall vor den obersten Gerrichtshof bringen wollen.
20 May. '10 Innenministerium: Sprengfalle verwundet einen Mann an der Verwaltungsgrenze zu Südossetien
A 26-year-old Georgian man was badly wounded in what the Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) said was "a hand-grenade booby trap" explosion close to the breakaway South Ossetia's administrative border on May 19.
"Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia condemns the fact of attack on civilian population and calls Russian occupants for stopping attacks on civilians," the ministry said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the authorities in breakaway region said that they had detained six Georgian citizens for "violation of the South Ossetian border" on May 18. They also said that two Georgian teenagers were also detained on the same day for the same reason; they were "warned against the illegal border crossing" and released, a website of the breakaway region's authorities reported on May 19.
19 May. '10 Europäisches Parlament wird Südkaukasus-Resolution diskutieren
    * ‘Authorities in occupied territories block’ EUMM;
    * ‘Democratization of paramount importance’
    * ‘Clarify situation regarding media ownership’
    * ‘Concerned’ over Eutelsat’s decision
European Parliament will discuss on May 20 a draft resolution on EU’s strategy for South Caucasus three countries.
The draft resolution, which addresses conflicts, human rights and democratization as well as economic issues of the region, in respect of Georgia calls for EU’s “further engagement” in order to secure “full implementation” of ceasefire agreements.
The document, which condemns Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, says that “Russia and the de facto authorities of the occupied territories, which are under Russian effective control, are blocking” full implementation of a mandate by EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia, which is not able to access the breakaway regions.
The draft “calls for increased EU action to persuade Russia and the relevant de facto authorities to stop blocking the EUMM from entering South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”
According to the draft resolution retaining of the status quo in the conflicts “bears the constant risk of an escalation of tensions and a resumption of armed hostilities.”
It welcomes a report by EU-funded fact-finding mission on August war, led by Heidi Tagliavini, and says it expects extensive background information provided by the report “can be used for legal proceedings at the International Criminal Court and by individual citizens as regards infringements of the European Convention on Human Rights.”
The draft resolution also says that isolation of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is “counterproductive” and in this context welcomes the Georgian government’s strategy for engagement with the breakaway regions.
The draft resolution recommends for setting up of “Conference on Security and Cooperation in the South Caucasus” with the view to develop a Stability Pact for the South Caucasus.
The document stresses that “democratisation, good governance, political pluralism, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms are of paramount importance” for determining EU’s future relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
It says that EU funding and assistance to the region should be carried out based on the principle of conditionality and calls on the European Commission to ensure that the commitments by the Georgian government “to inject new momentum into democratic reforms” are respected.
It also “warns against the possibility for governments to misuse conflicts to distract the interest of the international community from domestic issues.”
The draft resolution calls on the Georgian authorities “to clarify the situation regarding media ownership and the granting of media licences.” It also “notes the initiative of the Georgian Parliament to extend the Public Broadcaster Board to include more opposition and civil society representatives and expects results in this respect.”
The document expresses European Parliament’s concern over “refusal” of Europe’s leading satellite operator, Eutelsat, to host the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s Russian-language First Caucasian Channel.
“This refusal appears to be politically motivated… This refusal leaves de facto satellite transmission monopoly over the regional Russian-speaking audience to [Moscow-based] Intersputnik and its main client, Gazprom Media Group,” the document says, adding that ”it is of the utmost importance that in a democratic and pluralistic society the airing of independent media is not impeded.”
19 May. '10 US-Senator McCain kritisiert Präsident Obama bezüglich Georgien
Republican Senator John McCain criticized the Obama administration saying that support for liberty and human rights is "mostly missing" from the U.S. foreign policy and as one of the examples, among others, the Senator brought situation in Georgia vis-à-vis Russia.
"Not only are Russian forces still occupying sovereign Georgian territory; they are digging in their military presence. But last week, the President resubmitted to Congress a civil-nuclear agreement with Russia, stating, and I quote, ‘the situation in Georgia is no longer an obstacle...’  And some wonder why the Georgians feel that Washington is selling them out to Moscow as the price of our ‘hitting the reset button’," Senator McCain, who visited Georgia this January, told a conference at the Nixon Center, according to his prepared remarks.
After the August, 2008 war between Georgia and Russia, the Bush administration froze nuclear treaty with Russia, citing that Russia's actions were "incompatible with peaceful relations with its sovereign and democratic neighbor, Georgia."
On May 10, in a message to the Congress requesting for the support to this treaty with Russia, President Obama said that he had reviewed the situation and concluded, that "the situation in Georgia need no longer be considered an obstacle to proceeding with the proposed Agreement."
"The sad thing is, it’s not just the Georgians. Ask the Poles, or the Czechs, or others in central Europe, and you’ll hear the same anxiety about American abandonment," Senator McCain said.
In the context of the Obama administration's stance on Syria and Lebanon, McCain said: "There is nothing wrong with engagement, but it’s a tactic, not a foreign policy, and we should never give the impression that engagement with our enemies comes at the expense of the sovereignty and independence of our friends."
On May 15 The Washington Post ran an op-ed under the headline "U.S. Abandoning Russia's Neighbors" by David J. Kramer, who is a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs in the George W. Bush administration.
"The administration seems to have moved toward a "Russia only" approach, neglecting and even abandoning other countries in the region," he wrote and suggested that "the most glaring example of this trend" was President Obama's message to the Congress.
"It would be one thing to resubmit the... treaty noting that the United States still has serious disagreements with Russia over Georgia. Instead, by stating so baldly that the situation in Georgia is no longer an obstacle to advancing Russian-American relations, the administration is essentially abandoning the Georgians and giving Russia a green light to continue to engage in provocative behavior along its borders," David J. Kramer wrote.
On May 18 the issue was further discussed in a piece published on the Huffington Post by Moscow-based TIME Magazine reporter, Simon Shuster, under the headline "Obama's Betrayal of Georgia Kind of Makes Sense". In the article the author, who interviewed President Saakashvili and some of his advisors more than a month ago, discusses the issue in the context of Georgia's internal developments, making focus on President Saakashvili's personality and looking into his alleged role in Imedi TV's notorious fake news report, suggesting that "Saakashvili showed himself to be impulsive, even erratic, and a dangerous partner for the United States."
18 May. '10 Präsident Medvedev: Russland will die Schwarzmeerflotte nicht gegen Nachbarn einsetzen
Russia is “a peaceful country” and has no intention to use its Black Sea fleet, based in Ukraine’s Sevastopol, against “adjacent states”, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said.
"Will Russia use its Black Sea fleet to attack adjacent states? No, it will not," Medvedev said while speaking at the Kiev State University on May 18.
Russia used part of its Sevastopol-based Black Sea fleet, including flagship, guided missile cruiser Moskva, during the August, 2008 war with Georgia.
In what appeared to be an allusion to U.S. warships’ regular port calls to Georgia, Medvedev said visits of “foreign ships” in Black Sea were source of concern.
“It strains us – and I know it also strains Turks – when foreign ships, which have nothing to do with our Black Sea basin, come and demonstrate something,” he said.
“You know various developments took place, including grave ones – there was Caucasian crisis in 2008 [reference to Georgia-Russia war]; so more the situation is stable in the Black Sea basin, it’s better for everyone, including for NATO,” Medvedev said and added that it was the main reason behind the prolongation of an agreement with Ukraine on Russian navy base in Sevastopol.
He also said that main guarantee that Russia would not use its Black Sea fleet against neighbors was “system of international relations, including our commitments within UN, as well as commitments under the international conventions, including under the Helsinki Final Act of 1975”.
“Will we ignore the international law? Of course we will not, because it’s not favorable for Russia. Russia is a huge country, which has multiple interests and it will affect us if we start dropping out from the international community,” Medvedev added.
17 May. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: der von Brasilien und der Türkei ausgehandelte neue Vertrag mit dem Iran bezüglich dem Austausch von Atom-Brennstoff sei ein Durchbruch
President Saakashvili said on May 17 that an agreement, mediated by Brazil and Turkey, to send low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for receiving nuclear fuel for an Iranian nuclear reactor was "a diplomatic victory" and "a matter of survival" for the small countries of the region. ...
17 May. '10 Georgien in den Vorschlägen für NATO’s Strategisches Konzept
NATO enlargement for states, which have expressed desire to join the alliance, “should move forward as each state fulfils the requirements for membership,” says a report by a group of experts, which lays out proposals for NATO’s strategic concept for next decade.
Recommendations were developed by a group of 12 top experts, led by former U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, who presented the report to NATO officials in Brussels on May 17.
The part of the report under subtitle “Partnership with Georgia and Ukraine” says that “one of the major failures of NATO’s partnership structure” was the August, 2008 between Russia and Georgia.
It says that NATO’s channels of communication with these two countries through NATO-Georgia Commission and NATO-Ukraine Commission “are excellent.”
“The Allies should make regular use of the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia commissions to discuss mutual security concerns and to foster practical cooperation, including on defence reforms. The clearer NATO articulates its position to the partners and the more accurately it can assess their perceptions, the more adept the Allies will be at defusing crises and building trust,” the report reads.
“The Allies should also employ NATO’s crisis management mechanisms, in association with the partnership commissions, to assess and monitor security developments affecting these two countries,” it says.
The expert group’s report will provide the basis for discussions at NATO's summit in Lisbon in November, which is expected to approve the alliance’s updated strategic concept.
17 May. '10 Bericht zur Beobachtung des Wahlkampfes durch Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC)
In der Medienpräsenz ist Irakli Alasania vorn bei den drei TV-Sendern - public broadcaster, Rustavi 2 and Kavkasia -, während Gigi Ugulav bei den Sendern - Imedi, Maestro and Real TV - mehr Sendezeit erhielt.
16 May. '10 Die Kirche fordert ein "Gesetz gegen Unanständigkeit" und welches "religiöse Gefühle" verteidigt
The Georgian Orthodox Church called on the authorities on May 15 "to promptly" adopt a law, which would "defend religious feelings" and "defend population from indecency".
The Georgian Patriarchate said in the statement that "struggle against national values, as well as against the Georgian Orthodox Church is ongoing for several years already" and "the recent presentation of 'book' was part of the new plan developed for that purpose."
The book, which the statement refers to and which is put in scare quotes, is Saidumlo Siroba - the name is a wordplay on the Georgian for Last Supper and its most widespread translation now is "Holy Crap". Presentation of the highly-provocative book, written by a 20-year-old author, Erekle Deisadze, was held in Tbilisi-based Ilia State University in mid-April. Less than three week later, on May 3, a hardline Orthodox Christian groups, including Union of Orthodox Christian Parents, rallied outside the university condemning the book and demanding resignation of Ilia State University's rector, Gigi Tevzadze, who they claimed was promoting "anti-Orthodox ideology" by allowing to hold the book's promotional presentation in the university building. Next day a small group of campaigners held a demonstration - a counter-rally to the previous day's protest, under the slogans "Freedom of Speech" and "No to Fascism". The May 4 rally, however, was disrupted by hardline Orthodox Christian groups, which verbally and then physically assaulting demonstrators. A similar incident of smaller scale again took place outside the same university few days later and the the row eventually culminated into a fistfight during a live on-air talk show on Tbilisi-based Kavkasia TV late on May 7.
The Georgian Orthodox Church kept silence on the matter throughout these weeks. The first indication of its position, however, came just two days after the incident in Kavkasia TV, when Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, awarded one of the priests, who is regarded as a spiritual leader of Union of Orthodox Christian Parents. The same priest was among those several clergies, who made their way into the Kavkasia TV studio together with several supporters, when the station’s talk show was on air, shortly after the fistfight erupted outside the TV studio.
In the statement released on May 15, the Patriarchate, however, also says that "not a single Orthodox organization is established upon the initiative of the Patriarchate."
The Patriarchate also said in the statement that the incident in Kavkasia TV was also part of provocation against the Church. Although the Patriarchate itself did not put a blame on the TV station on stirring up the fistfight, but these allegations were voiced towards the station by priests, who are behind Union of Orthodox Christian Parents.
"Attempts are being made today to redirect all the public attention on the confrontation, which took place in Kavkasia TV, while less is being spoken about the reasons, which triggered this [incident]," the Georgian Orthodox Church said in the statement. "Physical confrontation in fact was triggered by moral and psychological violence, expressed through publishing of and direct or indirect support to the book."
"We believe that there is no need to start claiming, that based on Christian morality, the Georgian Church will never support violence, no matter from whom it might be coming."
"The Church aspires and advocates for mutual understanding, unity and peace (our commitment towards these principles have been demonstrated for number of times in recent history), but the Church can not support propaganda of immorality, indecency, licentiousness and satanism. Of course we do respect and share democratic values, but it is also a fact that freedom does not mean to have the right for everything. That is why in almost all the traditional European countries freedom of expression and the right to dignity are equally protected."
"For that reason it is universally recognized that freedom of expression ends where violation of rights of others starts and that the freedom of speech does not mean the right for provoking strife and confrontation, the right for insulting the Church and religious feelings and [the right] for humiliating the state symbols," the statement reads.
It also says that the entire row over the book was staged with the author being "a blind weapon, implementing orders" from others in order "to provoke" a harsh reaction from believers and to then "strike directly" the Church.
"This 'book' and its presentation were a bait, a trap, which was further demonstrated in consequent developments. For that reason the Patriarchate did not get involved in the debates and called on the population for restraint," the Patriarchate said.
"Now, when emotions have relatively simmered down and people are capable to act more intelligibly, we believe that we are obliged to warn the authorities and the society about the threat, which the current approach towards this matter poses: if religious feelings of absolute majority are insulted like this (appealing the court can not compensate degree of moral damage) in the country, which is already in a difficult situation, there is no guarantee that external or internal enemy will not use this situation and through persons like Deisadze will deliberately insult feelings of followers of other religions, which may serve as a reason for civil confrontation, leading to irreparable consequences."
"For that reason we appeal the authorities to give a real assessment to what has happened and to promptly adopt a law, which will appropriately defend population from indecency, defend dignity and religious feelings of the society and of a person. By doing that we will protect peace and welfare of citizens of our country," the statement reads.
Georgia decriminalized defamation in 2004. It was made subject to civil action and the burden of proof was placed on the plaintiff.
14 May. '10 Ukrainischer Außenminister Konstantine Grishchenko zu Kiev’s Position in der Anerkennung von Abchasien und Südossetien: "Kiew erwäge dies nicht ... Für uns ist die territoriale Integrität und Unverletzbarkeit der Grenzen eine prinzipielle Angelegenheit. Punkt."
Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Konstantine Grishchenko, indicated in a newspaper interview that Kiev was not considering recognition of independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions.
Asked if Ukraine was mulling over possible recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Grishchenko told Kommersant-Ukraine, Russian daily Kommersant’s Ukraine-based broadsheet:  “For us territorial integrity and inviolability of borders is a principal issue. Full stop.”
13 May. '10 EU-Kommissar Štefan Füle sagt, dass Georgien sich dem EU-Partnerschaftsprogramm voll verpflichtet habe
Štefan Füle, EU commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy, said on May 12 he had witnessed in Tbilisi Georgia’s full commitment to take up opportunities offered by EU through its Eastern Partnership and European Neighborhood Policy (ENP).
Füle, who visited Georgia in early April, however, also said that some of the ideas of “ultra-liberal economic environment” in Georgia were not in line with “pillars” of EU-Georgia future partnership.
“We had discussion [in Tbilisi] on what it means to be fully involved in the Eastern Partnership and to use fully the instruments being offered through the Eastern Partnership; here I am talking about Association Agreement, Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area [DCFTA] and the Mobility [Partnership],” Füle said.
“I think we were able to explain them [the Georgian authorities] that, particularly these first two [Association Agreement and DCFTA] pillars of our future partnership require a full engagement from them [the Georgian authorities] and it might not be fully compatible with some of the ideas of ultra-liberal economic environment to be created in Georgia,” he said.
Füle said that during meeting with senior Georgian officials in Tbilisi he had witnessed “a full commitment” that the Georgian authorities would fulfill set of measures, which were required for launching talks on DCFTA and Association Agreement.
He was speaking at a news conference after presenting a review of European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), launched in 2004. The progress reports released on May 12 about fulfillment of commitments by ENP participant countries also includes Georgia.
The progress report on Georgia, among other issues, also says that starting from second half of 2009 Tbilisi “showed determination to fulfil key EU's recommendations” required for starting negotiations with EU on DCFTA.
“As a result, some progress was achieved, notably the preparation of the first drafts of the necessary strategic reform plans,” the report says.
During the press conference, Füle said that this year countries in ENP would receive total of EUR 1,6 billion of targeted assistance this year and funding would increase to EUR 2 billion in 2013. He said the biggest funding increases would be allocated for Morocco, Moldova and Ukraine – the states he described as “the most engaged partners in European Neighborhood Policy cooperation.”
“Higher our partners ambitions – the stronger our response. Partners like Morocco, Moldova and Ukraine have immediately realized the potential for closer relations and are making significant use of [European Neighborhood] Policy. Others have taken up some elements of the offer immediately, but are reluctant on others. The Policy allows for that flexibility,” the EU commissioner said.
“Protracted conflicts,” he said, continued to hinder security and economic growth of EU’s neighborhood.
12 May. '10 EU-Fortschrittsbericht zu Georgiens Europäischer Nachbarschaftspolitik(ENP)-Aktionsplan
Georgien machte 2009 in allen Gebieten Fortschritte, es bleiben aber Herausforderungen bezüglich der Konsolidierung der demokratischen Institutionen.
In overall Georgia made progress in the implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan priorities throughout 2009, but challenges remain in consolidation of democratic institutions, according EU report released on May 12.
The document reports on progress made in the implementation of Georgia’s commitments undertaken under the EU-Georgia ENP Action Plan and it covers 2009.
Report notes progress in areas such as rule of law, reform of the justice system, fight against petty corruption, trade facilitation and improvement of business climate.
“Georgia will need to continue its democratic reform efforts and consolidation of democratic institutions, especially political pluralism and media freedom,” the report reads. “Other major future challenges include poverty reduction, employment and social policies, agricultural development including sanitary and phytosanitary issues and civil service reform.”
The report says that “polarisation of political life” remains “a serious obstacle to genuine political reform and inclusiveness.”
The document says that the May 30 local elections will be “an important indicator” of progress on implementation of Georgia’s international recommendations, as well as a test for the reformed election code, which was emended by the Parliament in December, 2009.
“The amended code does not adequately address potential abuse of administrative resources during elections,” the report says.
On last year’s lengthy street protest rallies by the opposition, report notes about low profile, which the authorities kept “marking progress from similar events in 2007”, when hundreds were injured after riot police dispersed anti-government demonstrations.
The report, however, also notes about the cases of attacks on opposition activists, which “were not thoroughly investigated by the government and no perpetrators were identified or brought to justice.”
“During the demonstrations some political opponents were arrested and sentenced on alleged politically motivated charges. Thorough investigation of all these alleged crimes and charges would be a solid indicator of the improved independence of the judiciary,” the report says.
The report says that although the Parliament “took careful note” of the Public Defender’s reports in 2009, “the real impact indicator of the Public Defender’s Office will be the actual implementation of the Ombudsman's recommendations by the relevant government bodies.”
According to the report overcrowding in prisons remain among areas of concern and it also criticizes amendment of the code of administrative violations made in July, 2009, which increased administrative imprisonment from 30 to 90 days. The amendment “is not fully in compliance with international human rights standards,” the report reads.
On media, the report says that broadcasters remain “an issue of major concern.” “The television environment is reported to be highly polarised and biased,” the document reads. It also notes problems with lack of transparency in respect of broadcast media ownership. The report says that granting of nation-wide satellite broadcasting to TV stations (it Tbilisi-based Maestro TV, which obtained such license) “only had a limited impact, since the high prices of satellite licenses constitute a problem for opposition-minded TV channels which struggle for funding and revenues from advertisements.”
The report notes Georgia’s “determination to fulfil key EU's recommendations” on Tbilisi’s preparedness for starting negotiations with EU on deep and comprehensive free trade agreement.
“As a result, some progress was achieved, notably the preparation of the first drafts of the necessary strategic reform plans,” the report says.
12 May. '10 Der 50-sitzige Stadtradt von Tbilisi wird mit Kandidaten aus jetzt 25 Bezirken mehrheitlich und 25 Kandidaten über die Parteilisten proportional gewählt
Im Artikel ist eine Liste der Kandidaten für die Stadtbezirke angehängt.
50-seat Tbilisi City Council will consist of 25 members elected through party-list, proportional system and another 25 members elected from the capital city’s single-mandate, majoritarian constituencies.
Previously existing ten constituencies in the capital city were divided into smaller ones so to match a total number of 25. Only three constituencies (Mtatsminda, Krtsanisi and Chukhureti) remain in their previous electoral borders.
Total of 228 majoritarian candidates have been nominated by about dozen of political parties and election blocs with number of contenders in each constituency varying from at least 7 to 11.
Candidates are elected based on winner-takes-all system, wherein a contender receiving more votes than others is declared an outright winner.
11 May. '10 Staatskommission für konstitutionelle Reformen stimmt einem Entwurf zu, der als Basis für eine neue Verfassung dienen soll
State commission on constitutional reform agreed on May 11 on a draft, which should serve as a basis for the new constitution.
If approved the draft, which has yet to face multiple discussions, will significantly increase Prime Minister’s powers at the expense of the presidential authority.
The draft, which was passed at a commission meeting with 31 votes to 10, is co-authored by the commission chairman, Avtandil Demetrashvili, a former chair of the Constitutional Court and commission secretary Tengiz Sharmanashvili of the National-Democratic Party.
Authors of the draft describe it as "a mixed governance" where the President will act as "an arbiter" between the legislative body and executive government, led by Prime Minister elected from the ranks of a party, which will garner most of the votes in the parliamentary elections..
Avtandil Demetrashvili, the chairman of the commission said that the draft, would be sent for expertise to Venice Commission, an advisory body of Council of Europe on constitutional and legal matter. He also said that the draft, which will be sent to Venice Commission, would include a provision saying that the document would go into force after 2013 presidential election.
President
According to the draft, the President will no longer direct and exercise domestic and foreign policy of the state - as the current constitution says. This authority will be delegated to PM and the government, according the draft.
President will remain the head of state, a commander-in-chief and supreme representative in foreign relations.
According to the draft, President appoints Prime Minister after the latter and the ministers are approved by the Parliament.
At the same time, President will no longer have the right to unilaterally dismiss the government or to appoint and dismiss so called power-wielding ministers - Minister of Defense and Interior, as well as an exclusive right to supervise them, as it is envisaged by the current constitution.
President will have the right to convene the government’s session only if the case concerns special importance.
While currently the Parliament approves ambassadorial nominations proposed by the President, in the proposed draft it will up to the government to nominate ambassadors, which will be then appointed by President.
The draft also lifts the right of the President to give a consent to the government over submitting a draft of state budget to the Parliament, hence the entire budgetary process will be up to the government and the Parliament.
The President will not also have the right either to suspend or cancel legal acts issued by the government.
Prime Minister will have the right to attest legal acts issued by the President. However, this right by Prime Minister will not apply to a presidential acts concerning a decision to dissolve the Parliament; calling elections; appointing the members of the National Security Council, chief of staff of the armed forces.
Government
According to the draft, the government will become the supreme body of the executive branch, which directs and executes the country’s foreign and domestic policy and which is accountable before the Parliament.
Prime Minister has the right to appoint and dismisses other members of the government. His resignation will automatically lead to the resignation of the government.
According to the draft, the government’s powers will be suspended as soon the mandate of newly-elected Parliament is approved, and not upon electing a new President, as it is envisaged by the current constitution.
According to the draft, new government will be composed by the party with the best results in the newly-elected Parliament. In particular, President will nominate a candidate, who will be proposed by the party, which will garner most of the votes in the elections. The prime ministerial candidate will himself select the ministers and submit them to the Parliament for approval along with the governmental program.
Parliament
The draft envisages fewer changes in respect of the legislative body. Unlike the initial draft, the one which was passed by the commission on May 11, the legislative body will remain with a single chamber. The initial draft envisaged two-chamber parliament.
The draft gives the right to the Parliament to overcome a presidential veto with majority vote, instead of currently needed support of two-third of its members. However, this provision will not apply constitutional draft laws.
According to the draft, one fifth of lawmakers, instead of current one fourth, will be able to initiate setting up of parliamentary investigative commission or other type of ad hoc commission.
The Parliament will have the right to scrutinize state expenditures, but it won't have the right to amend the state budget without the government's consent, according to the draft.
Other Provisions
In other proposals of the draft, if approved age requirement of judges will increase from current 28 to 30 and their term in office will only expire after reaching a pension age..
According to the draft, a person, who has a dual citizenship, cannot hold a senior position in the government.
The draft envisages complicated procedures for amending the constitution and amending of a fundamental provisions of the constitution will require approval of a sitting and then of a new Parliament, according to the proposed draft.
The draft was passed by the commission with the view that it further requires additional considerations and discussions. It may also face some significant amendments. Some of the ruling party lawmakers, who are members of the commission, refused to support this draft, including parliamentary majority leader Petre Tsiskarishvili. Pavle Kublashvili, chairman of the parliamentary committee for legal affairs, however, voted for the draft.
Members of the commission from the parliamentary opposition supported the draft. Non-parliamentary opposition refused to join the commission, when it was established ten months ago.
At a meeting with state commission chairman, Avtandil Demetrashvili, in June, 2009, President Saakashvili said that Georgia should have the constitution “relevant to the Georgian reality and with democratic and European spirit.”
“Of course we need a strong parliament, of course we need an effective president and of course we need independent judiciary and of course people’s control over these [branches],” Saakashvili said.
11 May. '10 Watchdog’s Beobachterbericht zum bisherigen Wahlkampf liegt vor: bisher weniger Verstösse als bei den vorgezogenen Präsidentschaftswahlen 2008, aber "... das allgemeine Bild ist noch weit von positiv entfernt ..."
Violations during the campaign ahead of the May 30 local elections have, so far, been fewer, than during the 2008 early presidential and parliamentary ballots, Transparency International-Georgia said in its recent report.
“However, the general picture is still far from positive,” the watchdog said in the report on monitoring the use of administrative resources, released on May 11.
TI-Georgia said that its recent report makes focus on the four main types of administrative resources: "coercive, financial, material-technical and human." The first report on monitoring of misuse of administrative resources, released late in March, focused on, what the watchdog said, was election-related increase of funds for local self-governance bodies.
According to the recent report instances of pressure on voters and opposition activists “are the most alarming matter” with such cases more common in the regions.
In one case, reported in the document,  on May 3 the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti governor, Zaza Gorozia, and high-ranking officer from the local police department, as well as the Mestia majoritarian MP, the head of Mestia administration, the Financial Police regional chief and other representatives of the authorities, accompanied by a special unit of the police, summoned the Freedom Party’s candidates (both majoritarian and those from the party list) to the administration building between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. and “forced them to withdraw from the elections.”
In one case in Ozurgeti, according to the report, families of prisoners were subject of pressure. It says that in April, a representative of local government asked families of prisoners to collect signatures along with personal identification numbers and other personal information of up to 500 supporters of the ruling National Movement party for release of their relatives from prison.
In April, the government established an inter-agency group to interact with election watchdogs and other stakeholders in order to ensure that elections are held “in the most transparent and fair environment.”
On May 8 the group met with four election watchdog groups and received information about the violations these groups recorded. “The members of the [government’s inter-agency] Group took note of violations and promised to react immediately,” TI-Georgia said.
11 May. '10 Eine Umfrage zur Bürgermeisterwahl sieht Ugulava mit 57% weit vor seinen Rivalen
An incumbent Tbilisi mayor is far better positioned for re-election in May 30 local elections than any of his rival, leading the race with 57%, according to the leaked polls conducted last month by CRRC for U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI).
The segment of the public opinion survey, which deals with ratings of political parties and candidates, was carried out as part of a comprehensive survey of voters; but while other segments of the survey were made public by NDI last week, the part involving political ratings were made available only to the parties –usual practice by NDI and U.S. International Republican Institute (IRI) in Georgia. Also as usually the political ratings are then leaked to the national TV stations by political parties themselves, in particular, presumably, by the ruling party. The same was the case with this recent poll with national television stations reporting the findings and the public broadcaster showing slides from NDI survey.
NDI office in Tbilisi has tacitly confirmed the accuracy of the TV reports about the poll results.
According to the poll conducted in a period between April 11 and April 26, 57% of respondents in Tbilisi said the ruling party’s mayoral candidate was their first choice (9% - second choice); followed by leader of Alliance for Georgia Irakli Alasania – first choice 7% (12% - second choice).
15% of respondents said they do not know who will be their first choice as a mayor and 33% - second choice. 6% (first choice) refused to answer and 12% in case of second choice.
Industrialist Party leader and beer magnate, Gogi Topadze, has 5% (second choice 10%) and Christian-Democratic Movement’s candidate Giorgi Chanturia – 4% (second choice – 9%).
10 May. '10 Öffentliches Fernsehen beauftragt das Marktforschungsunternehmen GfK aus Nürnberg mit den Hochrechnungen für den Wahlausgang
Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) said on May 10 it had hired Nuremberg-based GfK Group to conduct exit polls for Tbilisi mayoral race in the May 30 local elections.
Gia Chanturia, general director of GPB, said GfK, the world’s one of the largest market research companies, would administer exit polls at about 50 polling stations in Tbilisi and “about 30,000 voters will be interviewed.”
“We have requested GfK not to involve in the process any of the polling firms in Georgia… By doing so, I think, we have further underlined that this company will act maximally independently,” Chanturia said.
Two other Georgian TV stations with nationwide broadcasting, Rustavi 2 and Imedi, announced on April 28 that they had jointly hired U.S. polling firm, Edison Research, to conduct exit polls in Tbilisi for the May 30 local elections.

Die GfK ist eines der größten Marktforschungsunternehmen der Welt und beschäftigt über 10.000 Mitarbeiterinnen und Mitarbeiter. Aus über 100 Ländern liefern unsere 150 operativen Unternehmen das Wissen zu Märkten und Branchen, das unsere Kunden für ihre Entscheidungen brauchen. Der Hauptsitz der GfK Gruppe ist Nürnberg.
9 May. '10 Premierminister Putin äußert sich in Moskau zu Georgien anläßlich des 65.Siegestages zum Ende des 2.Weltkrieges
In Anwesenheit der Russland nahestehenden Oppositionspolitiker Nino Burjanadze und Zurab Nogaideli sagt Putin, dass Russland zu einem Dialog mit "konstruktiven, politischen Kräften" in Georgien bereit sei.
Russia's PM, Vladimir Putin, said on May 8 that Moscow was ready for dialogue with "constructive political forces" in Georgia.
He was speaking at a ceremony of laying the stone for World War II memorial in Moscow, designed to replicated the one which was blown up by the Georgian authorities in Kutaisi in December.
Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party and Zurab Nogaideli, former PM and now leader of Movement for Fair Georgia party, were standing beside Putin at the ceremony along with speaker of Russian State Duma, Boris Gryzlov and Moscow Mayor, Yuri Luzhkov.
"Representatives of the Georgian society are here at this ceremony. It is very important for us. It is very important that we are together today, that cultural, humanitarian, spiritual ties are not suspended," Putin said.
"I believe that new, good page of Russian-Georgian relations will be opened. We are ready to have a dialogue with all the constructive political forces in Georgia, who aspire genuine partnership with Russia. We will definitely restore this partnership,"
He also said it was "a political vandalism" to destroy the memorial in Kutaisi; the footage of blowing up of the memorial was screened at the ceremony.
"Blowing up of the memorial was one of the most heinous examples of barbarism," Putin said.
9 May. '10 Fünf Tbilisi-Bürgermeisterkandidaten setzen sich in Fernsehdebatte auseinander
Five main Tbilisi mayoral candidates discussed employment, social, city infrastructure and communal tariffs during the first and only live TV debates on Saturday, three week before the local elections.
Incumbent Tbilisi mayor, Gigi Ugulava; leader of Alliance for Georgia Irakli Alasania; Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party, nominated by National Council coalition; Giorgi Chanturia, nominated by Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and Gogi Topadze, leader of Industrialists Party participated in the 90-minute debates, hosted by the Georgian Public Broadcaster.
In thier opening remarks, for which the each candidate was given two minutes, contenders mainly focused on issues which they prioritize in thier election campaign.
Giorgi Chanturia, who opened the debates, said the country was in "deep economic crisis" and "I came here to try to convince you that implementation of anti-crisis program is required, pillar of which is employment and low [communal] tariffs."
Zviad Dzidziguri, whose three-party coalition also includes Party of People and ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli's Movement for Fair Georgia, unlike other candidates, targeted personally President Saakashvili during the debates for number of times. In his opening remarks Dzidziguri started by saying "strange things are happening in this beautiful country" and added that President Saakashvili was already for a month in foreign trips. "He arrived back [from the U.S.] only for two days... and after that again left the country; yesterday he was in Vatican and today he is in Costa Rica and we do not know where he will go tomorrow," he said. Dzidziguri also said that voters are told by the government that Georgia is a better country now than it was five years ago. "But I ask: why more territories have been lost and why do we have more displaced persons and why the country's security is in worse situation than it was previously?"
"We should change this government through election; so everyone who do not like this government should come and cast ballot to the opposition," he added.
Incumbent mayor, Gigi Ugulava, echoing the ruling party's campaign slogans, said in his opening remarks that "Tbilisi is a better city, than it was five years ago." "But we all agree that a lot still remains to be done, especially in terms of employment," Ugulava said and then listed some of the Tbilisi municipality's projects, which he said, aimed at creating additional jobs.
Irakli Alasania, leader of a four-party opposition Alliance for Georgia, who is considered to be Ugulava's main rival, told the viewers in his opening remarks that "the most important thing that needs to be done is to overcome hopelessness."
"This election is an opportunity to change your future and you should be active and come at polling stations," Alasania said.
Gogi Topadze, a beer magnate, said in his opening remarks that the Tbilisi municipality was implementing many "inappropriate" and costly projects. "I do not like today's Tbilisi; I live in this city for seventy years and I do remember better Tbilisi," Topadze said.
Employment
How the candidates plan to resolve unemployment problem was the first of four questions asked to each participant. The candidates were given two minutes each to answer each of the four questions and then they had an additional one minute for rebuttal remarks.
Zviad Dzidziguri, who was the first to answer the question on unemployment problem, said the National Council was the only political force having plan to resolve this issue.
"We state that through a dialogue with Russia, Russian market will reopen for the Georgian products; railway, sea and air communication will resume and people will be employed," Dzidziguri said adding that Georgia should resolve its territorial and security problems through a dialogue with Russia. "Those who will support the National Council, will also support launch of a dialogue with Russia on these issues... Otherwise this country has no prospects for creating jobs."
He also said on the matter that measures should be implemented to protect local producers from importers, especially in the field of agriculture.
Gigi Ugulava told the viewers that unemployment was the number one problem. He named several projects, which the Tbilisi municipality launched last year - the one is 'Old Tbilisi's New Life', being implemented in cooperation with banking sector and real estate developments in an attempt to stimulate construction and banking sectors on the one hand and on the other hand to resettle people from crumbling old houses in Old Tbilisi. Two other project named by Ugulava, which he said, were aimed at addressing unemployment problem was free-of-charge computer and English-language courses for Tbilisites and the project through which the Tbilisi municipality provides soft loans for small businesses.
He also said that it was more important "to look for new export markets" rather than to resort to protectionism and "to close down borders".
Irakli Alasania said the authorities' "wrong policies" and "pressure on business" should be blamed for the fact that "almost half of Tbilisi population is unemployed".
Alasania then laid out briefly his election program envisaging setting up of GEL 120 million municipal fund to provide soft loans to help with start-up and expansion of small and medium businesses. He said that this plan will help to employ 50,000 Tbilisites in one year period. He also pledged to establish a business ombudsman institution.
He also said that the authorities failed to keep thier promise to help create new jobs. "No jobs are being created and the major problem is that there is no institutional guarantee for protection of business and there is no free judiciary," Alasania said.
Gogi Topadze, who is an owner of beer and beverage-producing company, Kazbegi, said that he had already contributed to creation of jobs through his factories and added "I know how to make it."
He also said that he was in favor of protectionist approach in order to help the local production. Topadze added that Tbilisi mayor's position was influential enough to successful lobby for protectionist legislation and measures.
CDM mayoral candidate, Giorgi Chanturia, told the viewers he was glad that his campaign slogan "Employment and law [communal] tariffs" became part of election programs of other mayoral candidates. He then laid out in brief his major election campaign promise to significantly cut gas and electricity tariffs and to make water consumption free of charge, saying that it will reduce production cost for industries and businesses, paving the way for creation of jobs. The issue of communal tariffs was discussed in more details later during the debates, when a separate question on the matter was asked to the candidates.
Infrastructure Development
Second question asked to the candidates was about thier vision on Tbilisi's infrastructure development. The incumbent mayor told viewers that construction of new roads and rebuilding old ones, as well as other major infrastructure projects, including the one envisaging to divert railway traffic from the city center, would eventually help to develop business and to create more jobs.
Irakli Alasania said: "What is now happening in Tbilisi is a violence on the capital city and urban chaos."
"There is no strategic vision on how the city should develop. One of the first things when we come into the city administration will be to present this vision on which the city's strategic development plan will be based," he said.
He also criticized the city authorities for non-transparent implementation of various infrastructure projects.
Gogi Topadze criticized the city authorities for irrational spending and planning.
Giorgi Chanturia said that each and every project should undergo public scrutiny and broad discussion with professional prior to thier launching.
Zviad Dzidziguri said: "Tbilisi today is Potemkin Village. Only those places were made beautiful, where Saakashvili goes... It depends on one man's [referring to the President] whim what should be built and where... But the problem is that he [Saakashvili] has no good taste."
He also targeted Ugulava's remarks by saying that all the infrastructure projects implemented in Tbilisi had nothing to do with creating jobs. "It's about corruption and it's waste of money," Dzidziguri said.
Social Problems
Irakli Alasania said on the matter that affordable healthcare was not available for 80% of Tbilisi residents. He then laid out briefly the Alliance for Georgia's healthcare projects involving increase of sector's funding up to GEL 117 million in the capital city; creating of chain of municipal drug stores to help reduce price of medicines. He said that his promise also involved GEL 100 allowance for socially vulnerable people during the winter period to ease communal cost.
Gogi Topadze said that his party's promise was free healthcare insurance for people over 60 years old. He also said that at least one municipal hospital should be build in a year, which will cost about GEL 23 million and which will provide services in "either free of charge or in extremely low prices."
Giorgi Chanturia said that CDM's proposal was to set price limits on medicines to make them affordable. He also said that he agreed with proposals about municipal hospitals and drug stores.
Zviad Dzidziguri said in case of his election, the city budget would allocate annually GEL 150 million to cover full health insurance package for pensioners. He also said that textbooks for school pupils would be free of charge.
Gigi Ugulava said that "there is no perfect social program." "No matter what kind of social program will be implemented, we will still say that lot remains to be done and that more perfection is needed. The best social program is employment; that's the only way to help our population to overcome social hardship," he said.
Communal Tariffs
The fourth and the last question of the debate was about the candidates' views on communal tariffs.
Giorgi Chanturia, who made low communal tariffs the major focus of his election program, promises voters, that in case of election he would cut gas tariff from current GEL 0.51 for households per cubic meter to GEL 0.1 and would reduce electricity tariff, which now varies from GEL 0.135 to GEL 0.177 (depending on amount of consumed electricity) to GEL 0.05.
Gogi Topadze also says that it is possible to make water consumption free of charge. "It will cost the mayor's office no more than 6-7 million Lari per year," he said. Chanturia said it would cost GEL 2.8 million to the municipality budget per year.
Zviad Dzidziguri said that the issue of communal cost was something beyond the reach of the local authorities. "It is up to the central authorities. Chairman of regulatory commission is appointed by the President and it's hardly imaginable to change the current tariffs unless we change this President," he said.
Gigi Ugulava said that it was "one of the most painful issue for Tbilisites." He said that he welcomed the fact that the issue was raised in the election campaign by Giorgi Chanturia, "although we have a different opinion about it."
"With the experts, we have calculated and about GEL 400 million is required for implementing proposals laid out by Mr. Chanturia. It means that Tbilisi's budget won't be able to fund other services," Ugulava said. He also said that in last five years the authorities revamped the entire system to secure stable electricity and gas supply.
"We should be sincere before our voters. Many of the promises, that I listen are imposible to implement. What is possible to do is to further improve social assistance programs, including providing allowances to those people who need it most," Ugulava said.
Irakli Alasania said it was possible to reduce tariff for water consumption. "But we all should know that water can't be free of charge," Alasania said.
He also said that it was possible to reduce gas tariff by 50% and electricity tariff by 30%.
Closing Remarks
In his closing remarks, the incumbent mayor told the voters to make a choice not based on "empty promises, but based on deeds, which are already being done."
"We are offered to turn Tbilisi mayor's office into center of political wrangling; I offer you to turn Tbilisi mayor's office into employment center. We are told that the Tbilisi mayor's office is a trampoline for better future, but I am telling you that the Tbilisi mayoral office is a round-the-clock work for the sake of Tbilisi," he said.
In his closing remarks Alasania again called on Tbilisites to turn out at the polling stations on May 30 and repeated that these elections "are chance to change our future."
"The most important thing I want to tell you is that the major weapon of change is a ballot paper; we should win and defeat injustice in our country with use of this weapon. I am sure you will make a right choice and support us," Alasania said.
Gogi Topadze said that today "everyone is now repeating issues related with unemployment - something which we have been saying since 1996 and I am happy about it."
Chanturia told the voters that he would use "all my experience and international ties" to implement his election promises. "What we are promising is real," he said.
Dzidziguri said that when Ugulava was formally nominated for re-election he was asked by journalists whom he considered as his major rival. "My answer was - Mikheil Saakashvili, because Gigi Ugulava in fact has nothing to do here; it's in fact a campaign of Mikheil Saakashvili," he said.
"We have no other option than elections, so I beg you to turn out at the polling stations and vote for any candidate, except of thier [the authorities'] candidate... because the authorities still have a lot to spoil," Dzidziguri said.
There are total of nine candidates in the Tbilisi mayoral race, but these five contenders have been selected based on a principle that they were nominated by the political parties, which the election code defines as “qualified parties” – those that won at least 4% of the vote in the last parliamentary elections and at least 3% of the vote in the last local elections.
The public television plans to host a separate TV debates in which the four remaining candidates will participate on May 9.
Debates are co-funded by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and GPB. USAID provided USD 40,000 to assist the public broadcaster with staging the debate and other costs, and for funding post-debate online survey and focus groups and candidate training.
8 May. '10 Präsident Medvedev anläßlich des 65.Siegestages zum Ende des 2.Weltkrieges: Gute russisch-georgische Beziehungen werden wiederhergestellt werden
In a message to the Georgian citizens, congratulating with the Victory Day, 65th anniversary of the end of World War II, expressed confidence that “good, open and constructive relations, based on solid foundation of cultural, spiritual and historical ties” will be restored between Georgia and Russia.
“Any attempt to destroy Russian-Georgian friendship is doomed for a failure,” the message, posted on the Kremlin website on May 8, reads.
Fighting fascism side-by-side in World War II, the message reads, is of a special importance “in our common and multi-century history of relations between the Russian and Georgian people.”
Medvedev also says in the message that memory of those fallen in fight against fascism obliges Russian and Georgian people “to take care of traditions of friendship, good neighborly relations and mutual assistance.”
“It was no accident that a sacrilegious action of the current regime in Tbilisi to destroy World War II heroes’ memorial in Kutaisi triggered wave of outrage. I am sure that any attempt to destroy Russian-Georgian friendship is doomed for a failure. Like the memorial in Kutaisi will be recreated [in Moscow], good, open and constructive relations between our countries will also be restored… It can’t be otherwise,” Medvedev says.
The Russian President sent two other separate congratulating messages to leaders of breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which Moscow has recognized after the August, 2008 war.
8 May. '10 Int. Beobachter veröffentlichen Zwischenbericht zur lokalen Wahl: Wahlkommission habe bisher in "transparenter Weise" gearbeitet
Central Election Commission (CEC) has to date acted in “a transparent and inclusive manner,” according to the first interim report by international election observation mission released on May 7.
The interim report by OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which has deployed its observation mission in April, covers the period between April 16 and May 3.
On CEC, which is a main body in charge of administering elections, the report says that it regularly informs observers about its upcoming sessions in time. “However, the CEC also holds informal meetings to which observers are usually not invited,” according to the report.
It also says that the political environment remains “polarized” and trust in the authorities on the part of non-parliamentary opposition is low.
“However, several opposition parties have, in their contacts with the OSCE/ODIHR EOM, expressed cautious satisfaction with the CEC chairperson for his perceived openness and transparency,” the report reads.
It says that despite “significant shortcomings”, election code “is generally conducive to holding democratic elections.
The report notes that in their election campaigning political parties make major focus on Tbilisi. Ruling National Movement party and Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority, are campaigning more actively than others outside the capital, according to the report.
On media the report says that it remains “divided along political line.”
“Only a few outlets succeed in pursuing a more independent editorial policy. International and domestic media organizations have accused government officials and opposition politicians of influencing editorial and programming policies through personal connections with media executives and owners,” the report says.
The OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission launched its quantitative and qualitative monitoring of the campaign coverage by eight television channels (public TV’s First and Second Channels; Rustavi 2 TV; Imedi TV; Kavkasia TV; Maestro TV; Real TV and Adjara TV) and two daily newspapers, Rezonansi and 24 Saati.
The report notes that number of political parties complained about very high cost of paid political advertising on nationwide TV stations.
Tbilisi mayoral candidates are intensively using airtime for free-of-charge spots allocated in accordance to the law.
In the reporting period only three candidates had bought airtime – Gigi Ugulava on two nationwide TV stations, Rustavi 2 and Imedi, where political ad prices are about ten times expensive than usual commercials; Irakli Alasania, who bought airtime on Kavkasia TV and ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia, part of National Council, which has nominated Zviad Dzidziguri for Tbilisi mayor, on Kavkasia and Maestro stations. These two latter TV stations are broadcasting in the capital city and prices for political ad there are significantly lower than on nationwide broadcasters.
The report says that public broadcaster, as well as national and regional private broadcasters “have been airing regular talk shows and debates among candidates and political parties, providing candidates with an important forum for an exchange of views.”
8 May. '10 TV-Studio Kavkasia: Fernsehdebatte zwischen Führern von christlich-orthodoxen Gruppen eskaliert später auf der Straße zu Faustkampf
Live televised debates in Kavkasia TV's studio between leaders of hardline Orthodox Christian groups and their opponents grew into a fistfight outside the Tbilisi-based station's studio late on Friday night.
Young men affiliated with radical group, known as Union of Orthodox Christian Parents, which has became associated with a newly established People's Orthodox Christian Movement, verbally and physically assaulted some of Kavkasia TV program's guests and also some members of the station's staff, witnesses said.
Kavkasia TV's talk show, Barieri (Barrier), hosted by Nino Jangirashvili, featured several invited guests and an audience in in the studio. Among the guests were Malkhaz Gulashvili, owner of the Georgian Times media holding and a co-founder of People's Orthodox Christian Movement; Nana Devdariani, a former public defender and chairperson of Central Election Commission during Eduard Shevardnadze's presidency and Levan Chachua, a member of Union of Orthodox Christian Parents. Thier opponents during the debates were professor Sergo Ratiani, head of Ilia State University's administration; Teo Khatiashvili, a film critic and Beka Mindiashvili, a religious rights activist.
Topic of the debate was developments of recent days related to series of confrontations between young followers of radical Orthodox groups and thier critics, who consider newly established People's Orthodox Christian Movement as "a fascist" organization. May 7 also saw a confrontation between the two groups.
In the beginning of the program, the host expressed hope that the debates would have been "vibrant, but much calmer and more constructive than they have been in recent days."
But from the very start debates took an ugly turn. Gulashvili told the opponents for couple of times: "Your are not liberals; you are liberasts."
He used a term which apparantly is a wordplay of liberals and pederasts; the latter is used in Georgia as a derogative form for gays.
Beka Mindiashvili told Gulashvili that it was up to police to deal with the activists of his organization, because of the May 4 attack on peaceful demonstrators.
About an hour after the start of the program, Beka Mindiashvili said there was no reason to continue discussion with his opponents and left the studio, followed by Teo Khatiashvili and then by Sergo Ratiani.
Shortly after that the program was interrupted for a commercial break; it resumed about 20 minutes later - much longer than it takes for commercial break on Kavkasia TV.
When the program resumed, the host announced that after several guest of the program left the studio, before the commercial break, representatives of Union of Orthodox Christian Parents, outside the studio, started to verbally insult them, "trying to provoke them". She said it grew into fistfight in which several TV staff members were also physically assaulted. Kavkasia TV's founder, Davit Akubardia, was also attacked.
Scuffle reoccurred again shortly after that announcement by the talk show host and she called on the police "to immediately come and curb this". Several minutes later, several members from Union of Orthodox Christian Parents, including several priest, entered into the studio telling the program host that it was "a provocation staged by you". Police also arrived in the studio . It was reported later that at least three men were arrested; some reports said that four men were detained.
The program resumed few minutes later with some opposition politicians arriving in the Kavkasia TV studio condemning the incident. General Director of Georgian Public Broadcaster, Gia Chanturia, accompanied by GPB's boar chairman Levan Gakheladze also arrived "to express solidarity" towards the Kavkasia TV.
Some opposition politicians in the studio, including Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party, part of the Alliance for Georgia, said that she thought the hardline Orthodox Christian groups were given free hand by the authorities.
"They would not have dared to do things like this without having support of the authorities," Khidasheli said and added that it was in the authorities interests to provoke this kind of incidents in order to redirect attention from upcoming local elections.
Malkhaz Gulashvili, who founded People's Orthodox Christian Movement, in March, 2010, told the movement members at an indoor gathering on May 7, that the movement was launching struggle "to set Georgia free of a dictate by Liberty Institute" - an influential Tbilisi-based think tank with links to the authorities. Gulashvili said Liberty Institute and its affiliates in Ilia State University's administration were "promoting anti-religious ideology."
Gulashvili in the past was a business partner with the Georgian Industrial Group (GIG), a conglomerate owned by lawmaker from the ruling party, Davit Bezhuashvili - a brother of Gela Bezhuashvili, chief of the Georgian intelligence service. Gulashvili and GIG were partners through holding shares in business news agency, Georgian Business Consulting. GIG also owns shares in Rustavi 2; Mze and Pirveli Sterao TV stations. Gulashvili, however, said recently that he no longer had any business or other type of links with Bezhuashvili.
7 May. '10 EU-Delegation in Georgien und UN Development Programme (UNDP): Auswertung zur Fernsehberichterstattung im Wahlkampf
Among the candidates running in Tbilisi mayoral race, an incumbent mayor Gigi Ugulava received most of the coverage in all six TV stations, being under monitoring in a pre-election period, followed by leader of Alliance for Georgia, Irakli Alasania, according to the monitoring results made public on May 7.
EU Delegation to Georgia and UN Development Programme (UNDP) commissioned Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) to monitor main news bulletins and selected talk shows on three national television stations - public broadcaster's First Channel; Rustavi 2 TV and Imedi TV and three Tbilisi-based stations, whose area of coverage is limited mainly with the capital city - Kavkasia TV; Maestro TV and Real TV.
Apart of quantitative survey on how much of thier airtime TV stations dedicate to the mayoral candidates and thier respective parties, it also provides information about "tone of coverage" of candidates by each TV station.
Follow links below to view details of monitoring results covering a period between April 16 and May 5:
Length of Coverage Time Allocated to Candidates - pdf
Tone of Coverage by TV Channels - pdf

The media monitoring is part of a project implemented by EU Delegation UNDP - Development of Media Monitoring Capacities in Georgia, which aims providing "balanced and neutral information to the public to facilitate informed decision making."
Results of monitoring are discussed by civil society representatives and media experts in the weekly TV show, Media Monitor, aired by the public broadcaster on Fridays.
Central Election Commission is also carrying out its media monitoring ahead of elections. CEC announced on May 2 that it had hired Georgian firms - PrimeTime, BCG and IPM, for that purpose.
7 May. '10 Neue Umfrage zu NATO-Mitgliedschaft Georgiens: Rückgang in der Unterstützung
Although majority of Georgians are in favor of NATO membership, the level of support seems to be reduced in last twenty months, according to the recent public opinion survey. 
26% of respondents say that they fully support Georgia's NATO membership and 36% say - somewhat support, according to the poll carried out by Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) in a period between April 11 and April 26.
10% responded that they equally support and do not support; 7% - somewhat not support and 9% - don't support at all. 9% said they do not know.
In a poll by IPM for U.S. International Republican Institute (IRI) in September, 2008, 69% of respondents were fully supportive to Georgia’s NATO membership, plus 17% saying that they somewhat support, with only 8% either strongly or somewhat opposing.
In IRI’s similar poll in October, 2009 54% of respondents were fully supportive to Georgia's NATO membership with 21% saying they somewhat support and 12% were either strongly or somewhat against.
NDI-commissioned public opinion survey in which 2,378 citizens were interviewed was made public on May 6. It gives a picture of voters’ attitude towards broad range of issues, involving, among other issues, politics, democracy, media and foreign relations. The survey, however, does not include political party and Tbilisi mayoral candidates’ ratings ahead of the May 30 local elections.
In a plebiscite held in Georgia in January, 2008, 72.5% of voters cast ballot for NATO membership.
In NDI's survey the issue of NATO in itself is in the middle of list of those fifteen issues that matter Georgian citizens most, falling behind jobs, territorial integrity, poverty, pensions, affordable healthcare and relations with Russia.
Jobs, followed by territorial integrity are prioritized as the most important issues by respondents.
On the local level, most of the respondents prioritize cost of communal service as the most important issue, followed by road infrastructure.
Russia
Majority of respondents, according to the poll, is critical about the Georgian government’s current policy towards Russia.
28% of respondents say they partially disapprove it and 24% saying - fully disapprove. 13% say they do not know.
32% of respondents either fully (7%) or partially (25%) approve Georgia’s current policy towards Russia.
Majority of respondents are also critical about the Georgian opposition's engagement with Russia with 62% saying that they disapprove ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli's travel to Moscow to meet with Russia's PM Vladimir Putin in December, 2009 and 59% disapproving a similar move by ex-parliamentary speaker, Nino Burjanadze, in March, 2010.
Leader of Alliance for Georgia, Irakli Alasania, who is running for Tbilisi mayor, met with Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, in February on a sideline of Munich security conference. 38% of respondents say they disapprove this meeting between Lavrov and Alasania with 22% approving it and 34% saying do not know and 7% refused to answer. The Georgian media covered meeting of Nogaideli and Burjanadze with Putin much more extensively, than the one of Alasania with Lavrov.
Also on Russia, majority of respondents say they approve re-opening of Kazbegi-Zemo Larsi border crossing point between Russia and Georgia (61%) and even more are in favor of resumption of direct flights between Tbilisi and Moscow (82%).
Gov’t in “Strong Position”
On a question which direction Georgia is going in – 12% of respondents chose the answer “definitely going in the right direction” and 41% said: “going mainly in the right direction.”
In a similar poll a year ago 29% of surveyed said that Georgia was going mainly in right direction.
Luis Navarro, NDI's resident director for Georgia, said at a presentation of the survey, that these results indicated the government was in “a strong position” ahead of the May 30 local elections.
6 May. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: Sowjet-Ära ist in Georgien vorbei
The Soviet Union has not been "completely buried" and is now showing signs of life, trying to regain control over those parts that once was the Soviet empire, President Saakashvili said.
"Soviet Union, which is now in control of the Tskhinvali region and Abkhazia will never be able to keep them [Abkhazia and S.Ossetia] and will not be able to seize rest of Georgia, because in rest of Georgia our society, our army and our police, which are united like a fist, will respond to these attempts," Saakashvili said while addressing policemen outside the Interior Ministry on May 6.
"I want those itching to restore the Soviet empire to know, that era of the Soviet Union is over in Georgia," he said.
"But the Soviet empire is of course now attacking. This empire - something we thought was a corpse - has started to revitalize, because it was not completely buried and it is now trying to seize through ugly forms those parts that used to be the Soviet Union previously."
"A symbolic end of the Soviet Union in Georgia was marked when a Soviet police uniform was replaced by new Georgian police uniform, decorated proudly by [Georgia's national] five-cross flag and what is the most important, when it has been replaced by a new thinking, new human, new generation, which will never allow to return back," Saakashvili said.
6 May. '10 Mehrere Polizisten und Demonstranten verletzt bei einem Zusammenstoss, als einige Personen versuchten, zum Gebäude des Innenministeriums vorzustossen
Several policemen and protesters were injured in a clash on May 6 as a group of opposition activists and leaders tried to make their way towards the Interior Ministry building where police forces were marking  newly proclaimed Day of Police with a parade.
Opposition groups, including Levan Gachechiladze’s public movement Defend Georgia; National Council (Conservative Party, Party of People and Movement for Fair Georgia); Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia, announced on May 3 about the plans to hold the protest rally against the government’s decision to proclaim May 6 as the Police Day.
The first reason, cited by them, was that May 6 is celebrated as St. George’s Day and the second reason, they said, was that May 6 also marks one year anniversary of a confrontation that took place at Tbilisi police headquarters in which dozens of protesters were injured, including several opposition leaders, when the police fired projectiles from less-lethal launchers.
The Interior Ministry announced on May 5 that roads leading to the Interior Ministry building in Tbilisi suburb would be closed in connection to the police forces’ parade.
On May 6, when the event outside of the Interior Ministry was ongoing in presence of President Saakashvili, other senior officials and invited foreign diplomats, several hundred of opposition activists marched in direction of the ministry, but the roads were sealed off by the riot police.
The clash erupted when the protesters tried to make their way through riot police cordon on a by-pass road, which lies through a railway line.
Some protesters were seen in the TV footage throwing stones to the policemen. In one TV footage a senior member of opposition Conservative Party, Bidzina Gujabidze, is seen tossing a stone in direction to the riot police.
At least three protesters were hospitalized. Interior Ministry official said several policemen were hit by stones, but injuries were not serious.
Although decision to declare May 6 as the police day met protest across the broad range of opposition parties, many of them refused to join the protest rally organized by some opposition groups.
Alliance for Georgia, uniting four opposition parties, which refused to join the rally, said in a statement on May 5, that the authorities’ decision was “irresponsible and provocative”, but it also called on “everyone not to yield to this provocation and to firmly protect the peaceful way, which will lead us to change of the government through elections.”
Nino Burjanadze’s party, Democratic Movement-United Georgia, which was one of the organizers of the May 6 protest rally, said in a statement that “private police” of Vano Merabishvili, the interior minister, and President Saakashvili “staged a bloody St. George’s Day”
“With today’s [police] parade, the authorities confirmed once again that the police and the army are means of political pressure,” Burjanadze’s party said in the statement.
4 May. '10 Sokhumi und Tskhinvali weisen Tbilisi's Vorschlag zu einer int. Mission zur Menschenrechtssituation in den abtrünnigen Regionen zurück
Tskhinvali and Sokhumi rejected on May 4 any prospect of even considering Tbilisi’s proposal on setting up international missions in the breakaway regions to monitor human rights situation there.
Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said on May 3 after meeting with Council of Europe (CoE) Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, in Tbilisi that the Georgian side proposed to establish, possibly under the CoE aegis, human right mission “to monitor and react” on human rights abuses there.
“It is Georgia, not Abkhazia which needs such international human rights monitoring missions,” Apsnipress reported quoting breakaway Abkhazia’s foreign minister, Maxim Gvinjia, on May 4.
David Sanakoev, breakaway South Ossetian leader’s special envoy for human rights, said it was not up to Tbilisi to take decisions about opening missions and institutions in Tskhinvali.
Tbilisi was insisting on opening of UN human rights office - similar to the one which was operating in Sokhumi – in the Gali district of breakaway Abkhazia, predominantly populated by ethnic Georgians, before the August war.
Although no such office was established in Gali, in early 2007 UN human rights office in Sokhumi appointed an international human rights officer in the Gali district. UN closed down its mission in Abkhazia about year after the August, 2008 war.
4 May. '10 Oppositionsparteien und -gruppen kündigen Demonstrationen an für den vom Innenministerium geplanten "Tag der Polizei"
Several opposition parties and groups said they would hold a protest rally on May 6, when the Interior Ministry plans to mark the newly proclaimed Georgian Police Day.
Opposition groups, including Levan Gachechiladze’s public movement Defend Georgia; National Council (Conservative Party, Party of People and Movement for Fair Georgia); Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said on May 3 that proclaiming May 6 as the Police Day was unacceptable and “cynical” for two reasons.
The first reason, cited by them, was that May 6 is celebrated as St. George’s Day and the second reason, they said, was that May 6 also marks one year anniversary of a confrontation that took place at Tbilisi police headquarters in which dozens of protesters were injured, including several opposition leaders, when the police fired projectiles from less-lethal launchers.
Organizers of the protest rally said that they would hold a demonstration in vicinity of the Interior Ministry headquarters in Tbilisi suburb on May 6, when the ministry plans to hold a parade of police forces to mark the newly proclaimed Police Day. Organizers also said that they would also hold the protest rally later on May 6 outside the Tbilisi police headquarters.
Alliance for Georgia, whose leader Irakli Alasania runs for Tbilisi mayor, said although it was also against of proclaiming May 6 as the Police Day, it would not be joining the protest rally.
Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili, defended the decision about the Police Day date in a letter published on May 4 in the Georgian newspaper 24 Saati saying that May 6 was deemed as the most appropriate date.
“So far the Georgian police marked its professional day on November 10 – a police day and November 30 – security officers’ day. Both of these dates were total anachronism, because the first one marked the establishment of the Soviet police and the second one – Soviet Cheka [Bolshevik secret police and a predecessor of the Soviet security bodies – NKVD and then KGB],” Merabishvili says in the letter.
He said that May 6 was chosen because this date “is associated with positive emotions for most of the Georgian citizens – it is St. George’s Day and at the same time this is the day when Adjara was liberated from Aslan Abashidze’s regime” in 2004.
In the letter, Merabishvili lists achievements, which he says, the Georgian police achieved as a result of reforms in recent years, including reduced crime rate.
“The major achievement is that the police enjoys with sympathies of large part of the Georgian population. In order to preserve this achievement in the future too, a lot needs to be done, including it is important for the police to always stay away from the politics,” Merabishvili writes.
4 May. '10 Imedi TV-Moderator wird in einem Interview von Irakli Alasania unter Druck gesetzt mit Aufforderungen, sich bezüglich der persönlichen Rolle bei dem imitierten Imedi-TV-Bericht zu entschuldigen
During a live interview with Tbilisi mayoral candidate, Irakli Alasania, an anchor of Imedi TV, Lasha Kharazishvili, came under persisting calls from the guest to apologize about his role in Imedi TV's fake news broadcast on renewed war with Russia.
Kharazishvili, who is now an anchor of Imedi TV's political talk show, Elections 2010, which invites Tbilisi mayoral candidates for interviewing in presence of other Imedi TV journalists, was a newscaster of the Imedi TV's news program, Kronika, in which the fake report was aired on March 13.
Although being asked a question about a different issue, Alasania from the very beginning of the program started talking about importance of free media and congratulated journalists in the studio on World Press Freedom Day and then said that he wished the fact similar to the one when "through direct involvement of the President" it was made possible to air fake report, would never reoccur.
"At the same time I want to ask you - as you had one of the lead roles in that broadcast - to express your opinion [about the fake report], as the society is still waiting for the truth," Alasania told the anchor. "I also want to hear your opinion about why Imedi TV did not cover a very serious findings provided by a group of international experts about [fake report-related] recorded phone conversation."
Kharazishvili tried to interrupt Alasania for couple of times in one instance telling the mayoral candidate: "Here questions are asked by us."
"I want to know your opinion," Alasania told the anchor and the latter responded: "I will respond you about it later, but meanwhile answer to our questions."
The program then continued with Alasania responding questions, but less than 15 minutes later, Alasania again brought back the issue of the fake news broadcast by asking Kharazishvili: "Do you acknowledge that the fake broadcast was a mistake and do you, as an anchor of that broadcast, apologize for that? You promised me to answer my question."
"Yes, I will respond, but in this program questions are asked by us. We are now talking about elections," the anchor responded; but Alasania continued pressing.
Verbal sparring between the mayoral candidate and the TV anchor continued for two more minutes and after that Kharazishvili said that Imedi TV had already apologized for that fake broadcast and he personally too apologized for three times press interviews.
3 May. '10 Regionale zeitungen beklagen sich über Probleme bezüglich des Zugangs zu öffentlichen Informationen
Mehrere Zeitungen ließen in der Tagesausgabe vom 3.5. die erste Seite leer und titelten nur "Gibt uns Information". Der 3.5. ist der "Tag der Pressefreiheit" - "World Press Freedom Day".
Several regional newspapers ran a blank front page on May 3, which marks the World Press Freedom Day, with a headline "Give us public information".
Over dozen of regional newspapers said in a joint statement that the move aimed at highlighting the problem their journalists were facing in obtaining information from the state structures under the freedom of information legislation, which is in force in Georgia since 2000.
In the statement, the newspapers call on the President and the Parliament "instead of facade transparency to secure real transparency of the state structure, instead of facade transparency."
Tbilisi-based legal advocacy group, Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), said in a statement on May 3 that cases of absolute ignorance of journalists by the state structures has increases recently." It also said that the Tbilisi Mayor's Office was "illegally refusing" to provide GYLA with requested public information.
It also said that local self-governance bodies in the provinces were following "a shameful practice" of creating obstacles to access to public information.
1 May. '10 EU-Kommissar für Menschenrechte Thomas Hammarberg besucht Georgien: das Schicksal seit 2008 vermißter Personen und Fälle in Tskhinvali verhafteter Personen sollen geklärt werden
Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, arrived in Georgia as part of his efforts to help clarify fate of persons missing since the August, 2008 war and to resolve issue of detained persons.
Hammarberg, who is expected to hold talks in Tbilisi and also in Tskhinvali, has mediated release of several Georgian and South Ossetian detainees. He has also sent two experts to Georgia to oversee investigations to find out whereabouts of those persons from the both side, who are missing since the August war with focus made on three Ossetians missing since October, 2008.
In what Tbilisi said was "an expression of good will", the Georgian side released on March 30 four residents of breakaway South Ossetia and two Russian citizens from North Ossetia detained by the Georgian police in a period between October 2008 and January 2010. With this release, Tbilisi has reportedly released all Ossetians detained after the August war. About dozen of Georgians remain held in Tskhinvali.
1 May. '10 Kandidaten benannt für die Wahl der drei freien Abgeordnetensitze, die zusammen mit den lokalen Wahlen stattfindet
Simultaneously with May 30 local elections, in three single-mandate constituencies voters will also elect lawmakers to fill three vacant seats in the Parliament.
MP by-elections will be held in Tbilisi’s Chugureti single-mandate, majoritarian constituency, as well as in two provincial constituencies of Ozurgeti western Georgia and Gurjaani in eastern region of Kakheti.
Deadline for submitting candidates expired on April 30. These by-elections for three parliamentary seats will not influence to the current power balance in the parliament, dominated by the ruling party.
Five candidates will be contesting a majoritarian seat in the Tbilisi’s Chugureti constituency – Andro Alavidze, nominated by the ruling National Movement party; Kakha Basilaia of Christian-Democratic Movement; Levan Roinishvili of Movement for Fair Georgia, led by ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli and Lana Galdava, nominated by MP Gia Tortladze’s Democratic Party of Georgia and Giorgi Gachechiladze, nominated by newly established party, which is led by Tbilisi mayoral candidate Nika Ivanishvili.
MP Tortladze’s party has also nominated its candidates in two other constituencies – Maia Orjonikidze in Ozurgeti and Levan Cholokashvili in Gurjaani; both of the candidates are fierce critics of the non-parliamentary opposition and both of them have featured for number of times in TV political talk shows and programs, defending the authorities’ various policies.
Other candidates nominated in Gurjaani are: Giorgi Chiviashvili of the ruling National Movement party; Zaza Natsvlishvili of Movement for Fair Georgia and Levan Koberidze of Party of Future.
Two other candidates are also running in Ozurgeti district, apart of the one nominated by MP Tortladze’s party: Gocha Shanidze of the ruling party and Ilia Kalandadze of Movement for Fair Georgia.
Three majoritarian seats in the Parliament became vacant after ex-MP from Chugureti constituency Lasha Zhvania was appointed as Economy Minister in December, 2008 (he was dismissed from the post in August, 2009); former lawmaker from the Gurjaani single-mandate constituency, Giorgi Gviniashvili, was appointed as governor of Kakheti region and Anzor Erkomaishvili, a former lawmaker from the Ozurgeti single-mandate constituency, quit the Parliament.
30 Apr. '10 Parteien und Blöcke, die sich um den Stadtrat von Tbilisi bewerben
Parteien
   1. Democratic Party of Georgia;
   2. Future Georgia;
   3. Political Movement - Solidarity;
   4. Political Union - Public Democrats;
   5. Political Party – Our Country (Chveni Kvekana);
   6. Political Union of Citizens -  Public Alliance of Georgia;
   7. The National Party of Radical Democrats of Georgia;
   8. Political Union - Tavisupleba;
   9. The ruling party United National Movement;
  10. Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists);
  11. Union of Georgian Sportsmen;
Wahlblöcke
   1. Alliance for Georgia - uniting Our Georgia-Free Democrats; Republican Party; New Rights Party and Georgia’s Way. Irakli Alasania – Tbilisi mayoral candidate;
   2. National Council - uniting ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia; Party of People and Conservative Party. Conservative Party leader, Zviad Dzidziguri, is the Tbilisi mayoral candidate.
   3. Christian-Democratic Union – uniting Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority, led by MP Giorgi Targamadze;
30 Apr. '10 Neun Kandidaten berwerben sich um das Bürgermeisteramt in Tbilisi
Gigi Ugulava, Irakli Alasania, Giorgi Chanturia, Gogi Topadze, Zviad Dzidziguri, Davit Iakobidze, Nika Ivanishvili, Tamaz Vashadze und Giorgi Lagidze.
Nine candidates have applied to Central Election Commission (CEC) for registration to run for Tbilisi mayoral race; deadline expired at 6pm local time on April 30.
Contenders include incumbent Tbilisi mayor, Gigi Ugulava, nominated by the ruling party; Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia; Giorgi Chanturia, nominated by Christian-Democratic Movement; Gogi Topadze, co-founder and leader of Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists); Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party, nominated by a coalition, which also includes Party of People and ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia; Davit Iakobidze, economy minister in mid-90s, nominated by MP Gia Tortladze’s Democratic Party of Georgia; Nika Ivanishvili, head of traffic police in late 90s, nominated by his newly established party; Tamaz Vashadze, who briefly held Tbilisi mayor’s post 19 years ago and Giorgi Lagidze, leader of little-known party Future Georgia.
Deadline for submitting list of candidates running for Tbilisi City Council membership also expired on April 30.
Total of 11 parties and three election blocs submitted list of candidates for capital city’s council membership.
Although initially applied to CEC for registration, ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili’s party Movement for United Georgia and MP Jondi Bagaturia’s party, Georgian Troupe, decided not to run in the elections. Three other parties, which initial requested for registration, withdrew from the race, as they did not submit list of candidates for Tbilisi City Council membership.
30 Apr. '10 Zweites Treffen um vermißte Personen unter Beteiligung von Tbilisi, Moskau und Tskhinvali abgehalten
Representatives from Tbilisi, Moscow and Tskhinvali met on April 29 under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in frames of coordination mechanism trying to clarify the fate of persons missing since the August, 2008 war.
The meeting was held in a tent situated between the villages of Okona and Knolevi on the breakaway South Ossetia’s administrative border.
Participants discussed “concrete and coordinated steps that need to be taken to provide the families of missing persons with relevant information on their loved ones,” ICRC said in a statement.
The first meeting of this type was held in Switzerland on February 23. During that first meeting the participants shared preliminary list of 47 missing persons.
During the April 29 meeting the participants exchanged additional information on missing persons, adding one new case to the list and “positively” resolving one case of missing person, ICRC said.
"All sides expressed an interest in improving the coordination of forensic activities in order to facilitate the identification of human remains. Compliance with international standards for exhuming and identifying remains was especially emphasized," Megan Bassendale, an ICRC forensic adviser, who attended the meeting, said.
Shota Utiashvili, head of information and analytical department at the Georgian Interior Ministry, who participated in the meeting, said that issues related with identification of human remains and their reburial was the main topic of the discussion.
He told Civil.Ge on April 30, that total of 35 persons are listed among unaccounted persons on the Georgian side.
Utiashvili also said that it was agreed to carry out forensic activities into 14 cases to identify human remains, whose places of burial are known.
“We would like to request if anyone possesses any information about the missing persons, to contact the Interior Ministry,” he said, adding that follow-up meeting would also be held, but no date was yet set.
29 Apr. '10 EU-Georgien: erleichterte Visaregelungen 'bald' erwartet
The European Commission on April 27 adopted the proposal on the signature and conclusion of visa facilitation and readmission agreements and called on the European Parliament to endorse these agreements.
The visa facilitation will include, among other things, issuing multiple-entry visas with a long period of validity to certain categories of applicants including businesspeople, journalists and family members of Georgian citizens residing in the EU. The agreement would also cut visa frees to EUR 35 and and waiving fees for specific categories such as children, family members of Georgian citizens residing in the EU, representatives of civil society organisations. The agreement will exempt holders of diplomatic passports from the visa obligation.
The readmission agreement is designed to ensure the return of those Georgian citizens who illegally stay in the EU.
Speaking at European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee on April 28, Štefan Füle, EU commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy, said that “Georgians can soon benefit from lower fees and easier visa rules.”
He also said EU’s Foreign Affairs Council would be presented for formal adoption of negotiating directives for Association Agreements with South Caucasus countries on May 10.
Füle, who reported to the EU Parliament's foreign affairs committee about his trip to South Caucasus countries and Ukraine earlier in April,said that adoption of the directives would pave the way for the EU to prepare for the launch of negations on Association Agreements with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
“These Agreements will allow for close political association between each of the partners in the South Caucasus and the EU, building on common values and shared principles,” he said.
On Georgia EU commissioner for enlargement also told EU parliamentarians that during the visit in Tbilisi he had an opportunity to discuss internal political situation ahead of the May 30 local elections with both the opposition and the authorities.
“I stressed to both sides the clear need for adhering to international electoral standards, the importance of real political pluralism, a vibrant civil society and an open media environment as essential factors to consolidate democracy,” Füle told European parliamentarians.
He also said that his message to the leaders in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia was and “will always be that the responsibility for the internal reform processes and the strengthening of democracy and rule of law lie firmly in the hands of the governments and politicians of those countries.”
28 Apr. '10 Heidi Tagliavini hält Rede zu dem Bericht ihrer Kommission vor der Parlamentarischen Versammlung des Europarates (PACE)
Georgia “triggered off the war” with heavy artillery attack on Tskhinvali in August, 2008, however, this attack was not an isolated event, but a culminating point of years of mounting tensions and all sides bear responsibility, Heidi Tagliavini, who led EU-funded fact-finding mission into causes of the war, said on April 28.
She recited key findings of the mission’s report, which was released last September, in an address to Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE). Her statement was followed by debates at the April 28 PACE session about the consequences of the August war.
In her speech before the Assembly, Tagliavini said that the report by Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (IIFFMCG) was made public immediately after the release in order “to avoid misquotations and misinterpretations.”
She said that reactions to the report in the press and in public had been mainly “positive, or factual and neutral”.
“The conflicting parties have reacted in overwhelming majority in a moderate way; although we, unfortunately, could observe some rather selective reading – I mean each party presenting those parts of the report, which were to their liking,” Tagliavini said.
This approach continued to prevail during the debates at PACE session after Tagliavini’s address with speakers from the Russian delegation focusing on Georgia’s responsibility for “triggering off the war” and the Georgian delegation members – on Russia’s responsibility for developments leading up to the war and ethnic cleansing.
“Those who were involved in the conflict were usually focusing only on their own truth; they were hardly ever sufficiently prepared to look at a truth of the others,” Tagliavini said.
She underlined that her fact-finding mission – the first of this kind in the EU history – was not leading an investigation relevant to judiciary proceeding of any sort. 
“It was a strictly fact-finding mission,” Tagliavini said. “This report should not be seen as a tribunal and it was not preparing any legal action in favor or against any side or anyone.”
When she moved to laying out the mission’s key findings, Tagliavini started with, as she put it, “the answer to the question, which in the past has been asked most frequently.”
“In the mission’s view, it was Georgia, which triggered off the war, when it attacked Tskhinvali with heavy artillery on the night of 7 to 8 of August, 2008,” she said.
“None of the explanations, given by the Georgian authorities in order to provide some form of legal justification for the attack, landed valid explanation. In particular, to the best of the mission’s knowledge, there was no massive Russian military invasion underway, which had to be stopped by Georgian military forces shelling Tskhinvali.”
“It needs to be stressed, that the Georgian attack against Tskhinvali on the 7 to 8 of August, 2008 was by no means an isolated event. It was the culminating point of months and years of mounting tension, of armed incidents, and steadily deteriorating situation. All sides to the conflict bear responsibility for these evermore serious developments,” she said.
She said that although blame for triggering off the war lies on the Georgian side, Russia “too is to blame for a substantial number of violations of international law.”
“These include, even prior to the armed conflict, the mass conferral of Russian citizenship to a majority of the population living in South Ossetia and in Abkhazia. It also includes in terms of an additional violation of international law the military action by the Russian armed forces on Georgian territory far beyond the needs of a proportionate defense of Russian peacekeepers in Tskhinvali what come under Georgian attack. In addition, the Russian recognition of both South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states must be considered as being not valid in the context of international law and as violations of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” Tagliavini said.
She said that claims by Moscow and Tskhinvali that Georgia was carrying out “the genocide against the South Ossetian population are not substantiated.”
“On the other side, there is a serious indication that ethnic cleansing did take place in many instances against ethnic Georgians in the villages and settlements in South Ossetia, as well as other violations of international humanitarian law, which must be attributed to all sides,” she said.
“Furthermore, there are serious question marks behind the attitude of the Russian armed forces, who would not or could not stop atrocities committed by armed groups or even individuals fighting on the South Ossetian side against the civilian population in those territories, which were controlled by the Russian armed forces.”
She reiterated her call for “abstaining from assigning an overall responsibility” only to one side alone.
Tagliavini also said that the international community also had its share of responsibility.
She also said that international conflict management “was not successful” partly because of “a gradual erosion” of previously negotiated agreements and disrespect of international commitments.
She also criticized “passive and non-innovative approach to the peace processes” by OSCE and UN – organizations, which were present in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, respectively.
“When in early spring 2008 the international community eventually realized the seriousness of the situation and deployed intense high-level diplomacy with U.S. State Secretary Condoleezza Rice, EU High Representative Javier Solana and German Foreign Minister Frank Walter-Steinmeier, presenting one diplomatic initiative after the other, it was too late and not enough to prevent forthcoming crisis,” Tagliavini said.
“The series of misperception, missed opportunities and mistakes on all sides accumulated to a point that the danger of explosions and violence became real,” she added.
Debates
After Tagliavini’s address, debates were held during which head of the Georgian delegation Petre Tsiskarishvili told the Assembly that presence of Russian forces and shelling of Georgian villages in the conflict zone prior to the attack of Tskhinvali by the Georgian forces was already “the start of the war.”
“The inquiry [by Tagliavini commission] has proved that the Russian forces in consent with their Ossetian proxies have deliberately embarked on the campaign of ethnic cleansing of Georgians during and after the war. Second crucial part of this report is the passportization of citizens living on Georgia’s territory [in Abkhazia and South Ossetia],” MP Tsiskarishvili, who is leader of ruling majority in the Georgian Parliament, said.
“And last but not the least, which is very important for us, is that Russian troops – it was established by this mission – were on the territory, on the Georgian soil by August the 7th. It’s another question, whether substantial or unsubstantial forces, but the conventional Russian forces as well as paramilitary elements were ready on the Georgian territory.”
The report by the fact-finding mission, notes about the presence of “some Russian forces” in South Ossetia, other than the Russian peacekeepers, prior to 2:30pm of August 8, when Russia says it made a decision on intervention.
“To me the facts that I have just described are already start of the war,” he added.
Another speaker from the Georgian delegation, a ruling party MP Akaki Minashvili said that if it was Georgia, which started the war, “how it comes that in two hours, about ten thousand Russian soldiers were on Georgian territory – strange.”
“If we are the starters of the war, how it comes that Russia blocked eight peace proposals offered by the Georgian side and one of them was offered by [then] German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier,” MP Minashvili said.
MP Tsiskarishvili said that Russia’s policy towards Georgia was making the current situation “a classic zero-sum game”.
“Georgia either surrenders and becomes Russia’s backyard, or Russia wants to see it destroyed completely,” he said and added that through democratic reforms and international support Georgia would prevail.
Head of the Russian delegation at PACE, Konstantin Kosachev, told the Assembly that such a notion of “zero-sum game” would not help to resolve the conflict. He also said that he agreed with Heidi Tagliavini’s remarks that there were no winners from this conflict.
Initially PACE was expected to pass a resolution – the fourth since October, 2008 – about the consequences of the August war, but the process was stalled because of disagreements over the drafts. 
Two preliminary drafts of the resolution were prepared, which, as one PACE members put it, “significantly differed from each other”. One was prepared by co-rapporteur on the matter Hungarian MP Mátyás Eörsi and the second one by another co-rapporteur, British MP David Wilshire. The latter was strongly criticized by Georgia for having a meeting with South Ossetian representative in so called embassy of breakaway region in Moscow. The Georgian delegations said that Wilshire’s decision agree on a meeting at that venue was putting a reason to question his objectivity in drafting of the resolution.
During the debates, David Wilshire told the Assembly that “one thing we can usefully do is try not to get hung up on terminology, on status and on which building the meeting takes place.” “We want to focus on what is achievable,” he added.
In a response to Wilshire’s remarks, Georgian lawmaker Akaki Minashvili said it was probably easy to say “let’s leave emotions back” for those people who “live in London and travel to Moscow”, but it was not easy in Georgia’s case as Russian artillery “is standing 40 kilometers away from Tbilisi, from our families and citizens.”
27 Apr. '10 Girgvliani-Fall wird am europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte angehört
Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) held on April 27 a public hearing into application lodged by the Girgvliani family against Georgia.
Enukidze and Girgvliani v. Georgia involves a murder case of 28-year-old Sandro Girgvliani in 2006. The case has turned into the key political issue in 2006 and it reemerges time after time in Georgia’s political discourse, because of persisting allegations that the investigation covered up possible links of Interior Ministry officials, as well as of wife of Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili, to this murder case.
Four officers from Interior Ministry’s Department for Constitutional Security were convicted for this murder case; they were all pardoned and granted a pre-term release in September, 2009.
Applicants – Irina Enukidze (mother of Sandro Girgvliani, who died in August, 2007 after lodging the application) and Guram Girgvliani (the father) – claim that the rights under article 2 (right to life); article 3 (prohibition of torture); article 6 (right to a fair trial) and article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms were violated.
Applicants have requested EUR 300,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage, RFE/RL Georgian service reported.
ECHR said the ruling will be delivered "at a later stage".
27 Apr. '10 Eine Gruppe von Abgeordneten kündigt an, bereit zu sein für eine 'breite Diskussion über den Genozid der Tscherkessen durch das zaristische Russland in der zweiten Hälfte des 19.Jhs.'
>> Völkermord-Genozid
A group of Georgian lawmakers announced on April 26 about the readiness to launch "broad discussions on cases of the massacres and deportations of Circassians" by the Tsarist Russia in the North Caucasus in second half of 19th century.
The announcement by the Georgian parliamentary group of friendship with the peoples of North Caucasus comes a month after Tbilisi hosted a conference, Hidden Nations, Enduring Crimes: The Circassians & the Peoples of the North Caucasus Between Past and Future. The conference was organized by Washington-based Jamestown Foundation and Tbilisi-based Ilia State University’s International School for Caucasus Studies with the participants including, among others, representatives of Circassian diaspora.
At the end of the conference, on March 21, participants made an appeal to the Georgian Parliament requesting to recognize deportations and massacre of Circassians more than a century ago as a genocide.
"You know that the international conference was held in Tbilisi in March with consequent appeal to the Georgian Parliament... We think that the first stage of these discussions should be an active consultation with our and foreign academic circles, political experts," a ruling party lawmaker, Nugzar Tsiklauri, who is a member of the parliamentary group of friendship with the North Caucasian people, said on April 26.
"We deem it necessary to further broaden scope of discussions on the matter both within and outside Georgia," he added.
The appeal also request the Georgian Parliament to declare May 21, "which marks the Russian celebration of the occupation of the North West Caucasus in 1864, as a memorial day of the victims of the Circassian genocide, and to recognize Sochi as the location and symbol of Circassian genocide and ethnic cleansing."
In mid-April, an anonymous YouTube user posted on its account, launched just a day earlier, several audio files of what is claimed to be recorded phone conversations between senior Georgian officials and diplomats, suggesting that Tbilisi is building contacts with representatives of North Caucasian communities living outside Russia. Recordings are allegedly made in mid-December, 2009.
In one of the audio files (several of them are of poor quality and inaudible), which is described as "a conversation between Georgian Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili and Georgia's ambassador to the United States Batu Kutelia", the man's voice which is very much similar to the one of Merabishvili tells interlocutor that there was a misunderstanding and no meeting of the Georgian President with an Ingush man, identified with a first name - Ibragim, was planned.
"Yes we meet with North Caucasians time after time, but not the President... We are summoning them separately and talking with them... Givi [apparently referring to a senior ruling party lawmaker Givi Targamadze] and [Gia] Tortladze [a lawmaker from parliamentary minority] usually meet them and I also meet them sometimes."
In another audio file, a man, porportadly MP Givi Targamadze, alledgeldy speaks with Georgia's ambassador to Egypt and Syria, Gocha Japaridze and tells him "to find as many as possible North Caucasian organizations - Circassian, Ingush, Chechen etc." in Egypt and Syria.
"To put it directly, in our Parliament we are intending to recognize thier genocide... So now we are intensively engaged in searching for these people everywhere, including in Turkey, Jordan; I have already spoken with ambassadors there... Now I'm with Vano, together discussing this matter," the man with voice very much similar to the one of MP Givi Targamadze tells the interlocutor.
On April 23, a day before the 95th anniversary of the start of the massacre of Armenians in Ottoman Empire was marked, a group of Armenian community in Tbilisi made a formal appeal to the Georgian Parliament - one of many other similar appeals made in previous years - requesting to recognize mass killings of Armenians century ago as a genocide. There has been no formal response by the Georgian Parliament to those appeals.
26 Apr. '10 Untersuchung eines Telefongesprächs zum fiktionalen Imedi TV-Bericht vorgestellt: Anzeichen für Verfälschung durch Löschen von Gesprächsteilen
A recorded phone conversation, implicating President Saakashvili of being behind Imedi TV’s fake news broadcast on renewed war, is genuine, although it may have been tampered through deletion of some parts of the conversation, according to findings of examination by London-based business intelligence and corporate investigations firm GPW.
GPW was commissioned by Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights Party, which is part of opposition Alliance for Georgia, to ascertain the veracity of the recorded phone conversation between Imedi TV’s managing director Giorgi Arveladze and his deputy Eka Tsamalashvili. The audio recording of conversation, which supposedly was held before the fake report was aired, was posted on a Russian-language website on March 15 – two days after Imedi TV’s fake report was aired.
Both Arveladze and Tsamalashvili acknowledged that their voices were heard in the recorded conversation, but they claimed that it was a fabrication. Both have said that the recording was made through montage and compilation of their previous, several separate conversations and presented in a manner so that to implicate President Saakashvili to having links with the fake report. Arveladze said that it was made by the Russian special services at a sensitive political period so that to fuel up anti-government sentiments in the country. Lawmakers from the ruling party adhered to the same position, rejecting calls for a parliamentary probe.
The report, which was presented by Alliance for Georgia on April 26 (available on a website of the New Rights Party), says that for linguistic forensic examination of the recording GPW hired Isabel Picornell, a certified fraud examiner, and Donald Rayfield, Professor Emeritus of Russian and Georgian studies at Queen Mary College in London.
“Picornell and Rayfield have concluded that the conversation is genuine. The overall lexical linking is consistent with a single conversation and both experts have discounted claims that the recording is a montage,” the report reads.
It, however, also says that there are inconsistencies in the recorded conversation suggesting that the recording may have been tampered. “These inconsistencies may point to a deletion of parts of the recording, but there is no evidence of insertions or additions,” it says.
The experts, according to the report, noted that “the inconsistencies all occur during the part of the conversation where Mikheil Saakashvili is referenced.”
In the conversation Arveladze mentions “Misha” - a short form for the name Mikheil, as President Saakashvili is usually referred to – twice. He tells his interlocutor that it was “Misha” who wanted the fake report to be aired without any warning to viewers. Arveladze brings up “Misha” after his deputy Tsamalashvili warns her boss that airing the fake report without warning would result into violation of the law on broadcasting.
“Both Picornell and Rayfield believe that the conversation is genuine although inconsistencies might point to interferences with the recording. However, as Rayfield has stated, even these inconsistencies can be explained without compromising the integrity of the recording,” the report says.
The report focuses on the linguistic forensic examination of the recording, rather than on technical aspects; it, however, says that experts from London-based firm, BSB Forensics, examined the technical content of the recording in which each speaker is recorded on a separate channel.
“This and other technical factors strongly indicate that the recording was an intercept made at a main exchange,” the report reads without giving details of “other technical factors”.
During the presentation of the report in Tbilisi, leaders from Alliance for Georgia told reporters on April 26, that the Georgian prosecutor’s office should launch an investigation into the case.
Davit Usupashvili, leader of Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said that Arveladze violated number of clauses of criminal code, in particular through obstructing professional activities of a journalist; obstruction to entrepreneurship and illegal activity in entrepreneurship. Usupashvili has claimed that Arveladze, despite knowing that airing of fake report without warning caption would have been a violation of law and would have been harmed Imedi television stations, was still insisting on doing that.
He also said that the case also involved violation of constitutional clauses on the part of President Saakashvili. He said that Saakashvili violated the constitutional provision, which says that “interference in creative process, censorship in the field of creative activity shall be impermissible”; as well as the provision saying that “mass media shall be free; the censorship shall be impermissible.”
“We should take the responsibility and undertake concrete legal actions… so that to bring this case to its end,” said Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, who is running for Tbilisi mayor.
“This fake broadcast has traumatized the society; it was a psychological trauma… Taking actions and bringing this case to its end is a matter of our national dignity,” he said.
24 Apr. '10 Georgiens’s Außenhandel stieg im ersten Quartalum 15% an: 1.36 Mrd. USD
Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in first quarter of 2010 was USD 1.36 billion, up by 15% from last year’s first quarter, the state statistics office, Geostat, said on April 23.
The value of export was USD 339 million, up by 55% from last year’s first quarter and import was USD 1.02 billion, up by 6% from the same period f 2009. Trade deficit stood at USD 681 million, which is down by 9%, Geostat said.
Turkey remained the Georgia’s largest trading partner in the first quarter with USD 212 million, followed by Azerbaijan – USD 137 million; Ukraine – USD 127 million; Russia – USD 73.3 million; Germany – USD 73.22 million; the United States – USD 71.85 million; China – USD 71.5 million; Bulgaria – 42.6 million; Armenia – USD 40.6 million and United Arab Emirates – USD 39.44 million.
Ferro-alloys remained the number one Georgian export, amounting USD 57 million and oil products top the list of imports totaling USD 119 million in the first quarter of 2010.
Meanwhile on April 24, Georgian PM, Nika Gilauri, said that the government had revised upward GDP growth forecast and now it expected growth from 3% to 5%, instead of initially forecasted 2%.
23 Apr. '10 Bürgermeisterwahl in Tbilisi steht im Zentrum des Interesses bei den lokalen Wahlen
Am 30.5. werden 64 Stadträte gewählt. Bei der Bürgermeisterdirektwahl in Tbilisi benötigt der Wahlsieger neben der Stimmenmehrheit auch mehr als 30%  Stimmanteil, ansonsten käme es zu einer Stichwahl. Im Mai werden Fernsehdebatten der Kandidaten erwartet, Termine stehen noch nicht fest.
Die Wahlkampfveranstaltungen der Regierungspartei stehen unter der Überschrift "A Lot Remains to Be Done". In Tbilisi tritt für sie der bishereige Bürgermeister Gigi Ugulava an. Gegenkandidaten sind: Irakli Alasania, Alliance for Georgia, Giorgi Chanturia, Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), und Zviad Dzidziguri, Conservative Party.
Voters in Georgia will elect 64 new municipal councils in May 30 local elections, but the major focus will be on contest in Tbilisi, which will directly elect its mayor for the first time.
Outcome of mayoral contest in the capital city, where one-third of the country’s voters are concentrated, is believed to largely determine the country’s political landscape in run up to presidential elections in 2013, when Mikheil Saakashvili’s second and final term in office expires.
The ruling party has formally launched campaigning this week from provinces by nominating its candidates for local councils’ membership in some of the regional municipalities, including in Samegrelo, Svaneti, and Mtskheta-Mtianeti regions, as well as in the town of Gori.
Ruling party’s outdoor campaign rallies, led by various senior ruling party officials - in case of Poti in Samegrelo region Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, was involved – were held under the banner reading: "A Lot Remains to Be Done". 
No formal campaign has been launched by the ruling party in Tbilisi as it has yet to officially nominate its mayoral candidate, as well as candidates for Tbilisi City Council membership; deadline is April 30.
Incumbent mayor, Gigi Ugulava, is expected to stand for re-election. Ugulava, one of those few senior officials who are regarded to be part of so called Saakashvili's inner circle, has kept low political profile in recent months - shunning away from making public political statements, but instead has been active in creating an image of an effective executive dealing with daily needs of the Tbilisites. 
His opponents complain that Ugulava’s activities in recent months are part of his undeclared election campaign with use of administrative resources; similar allegations were also voiced in a report by Transparency International-Georgia; the report was rejected by Ugulava himself and in addition the government’s inter-agency task force for free and fair elections released a detailed rebuttal of the report.
Ugulava in his formal campaign is expected to focus on social issues and unemployment; he has pointed out these issues as priorities for the municipality for number of times in his recent public remarks.
Opposition mayoral candidates, which have already launched formal campaign, are also focusing on social issues in their electoral programs.
Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, presented last week his “employment program”, pledging to create at least 50,000 new jobs through setting up of a municipal fund to help with start-up and expansion of small and medium businesses. According to the scheme, presented by Alasania, the municipal fund with worth of total GEL 120 million will provide loans of up to GEL 20,000 with annual interest rate of 8% and with repayment period of 18 months.
According to the proposal, finances for the GEL 120 million fund will come from direct municipal funding – GEL 50 million, plus GEL 50 million through issuing long-term treasury bills and GEL 20 million from donor funding.
In healthcare program, Alasania has pledged to increase funding of the sector in Tbilisi from GEL 33 million to GEL 117 million in case of his election. He has promised medicines for children up to 3 years old and for Tbilisi residents over 65 years old free of charge with limit of GEL 100. He claims it’s possible through creation of chain of municipal drug stores, which will provide medicines with discount price.
A mayoral candidate, nominated by Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority, Giorgi Chanturia runs the campaign with a message: “low tariffs and employment”; he has pledged to significantly cut gas and electricity tariffs and to make water consumption free of charge.
Chanturia tells voters, that in case of election he would cut gas tariff from current GEL 0.51 tetri for households per cubic meter to GEL 0.1 and would reduce electricity tariff, which now varies from GEL 0.135 to GEL 0.177 (depending on amount of consumed electricity) to GEL 0.05.
Chanturia says that reduction of gas tariff is possible thanks to Georgia’s role in Shah Deniz gas project from which the country, as a transit route, annually should receive 5% of transited gas free of charge and in addition 500 million cubic meter from transited gas with reduced price of USD 55 per 1,000 cubic meter.
Gogi Topadze, owner of beer producing company and a founder of Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists), also runs the campaign focusing on resolving unemployment and social problems. 
Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party, part of National Council alliance (also including ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s party Movement for Fair Georgia and Party of People) presented his healthcare program on April 23 pledging basic health insurance for Tbilisi residents and full package of health insurance for pensioners.
Three remaining candidates are Davit Iakobidze, Georgia’s finance minister in mid-90s, who was nominated by MP Gia Tortladze’s Democratic Party of Georgia; Nika Ivanishvili, who was head of traffic police in late 90s, was nominated by his party, which was established in March and Tamaz Vashadze, who briefly was Tbilisi mayor, 19 years ago.
The Georgian Public Broadcaster is expected to host live TV debates between the candidates in May, but arrangements have yet to be agreed.
A candidate winning most of the votes, but not less than 30% will be declared an outright winner, but a runoff will be required if none of them garners 30%.
Parties are also contesting for 50 seats in the Tbilisi City Council. 25 seats will be distributed among the parties, which will clear 4% threshold in the party-list, proportional contest and remaining 25 will be contested in Tbilisi’s 25 single-mandate majoritarian constituencies.
23 Apr. '10 Tbilisi kritisiert PACE-Beobachter David Wilshire aus Großbritannien wegen seines Treffens mit einem Vertreter des abtrünnigne Südossetien in Moskau
Georgia has strongly condemned monitor from Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE), David Wilshire of UK, for having a meeting with South Ossetian official in an embassy of the breakaway region in Moscow.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on April 22, the venue of the meeting indicated on Mr. Wilshire’s “predetermined” and “biased” position towards the issue he was in charge of.
David Wilshire, a co-rapporteurs from PACE’s monitoring committee on honouring obligations by the Council of Europe member states, was in Moscow to hold talks with the Russian officials in the run up to discussions about consequences of the August, 2008 war in PACE next week.
Authorities in breakaway South Ossetia said that Wilshire met with Tskhinvali’s special envoy for post-conflict resolution, Boris Chochiev, in the region’s embassy in Moscow on April 20.
“Georgia fully respects the liberty of a parliamentarian; however Mr. Wilshire, the member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was acting in his capacity of the Assembly's co-rapporteur, hence representing the whole organization. This is the first instance when an official representative of the international organization holds the meeting in the premises of the "Embassy" of the proxy regimes,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in the statement.
“This act comes in direct contravention to the main principles of international law, i.e. the principles of territorial integrity and sovereignty and inter alia undermines the Statute of the Council of Europe, as well as each and every Parliamentary Assembly's resolution, the implementation of which the Assembly's Monitoring Committee was tasked to assess,” the statement reads. “Furthermore, it neglects the position of the Council of Europe and its' member states who condemned the recognition by Russia of the Georgian regions: Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and called the Russian Federation to withdraw its illegal, unilateral recognition.”
“Moreover, it attests that Mr. Wilshire has a predetermined, biased position towards the issues concerning the implementation of the Parliamentary Assembly's resolutions on the consequences of the Russia-Georgia war,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
Davit Jalagania, Georgia’s deputy foreign minister, med with Tbilisi-based diplomats from CoE-member states, to convey Tbilisi’s concerns about the matter, the Georgian Foreign Ministry said.
Discussions on consequences of the August war are scheduled at PACE session on April 28. Heidi Tagliavini, who chaired EU-funded Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (IIFFMCG), which produced its report in September, 2009, will also address the session on the same day.
PACE has passed three resolutions on consequences of the August war. The recent one in last September was calling on Russia to fulfill its obligations, imposed upon it by PACE’s January, 2009 and October, 2008 resolutions, before the end of 2009.
Wilshire, accompanied by another co-rapporteur on the matter Hungarian MP Mátyás Eörsi, visited Tbilisi and Sokhumi in mid-April.
22 Apr. '10 Tskhinvali hat Teymuraz Jerapov verhaftet, einen ethnischen Osseten, der zwei Jahre als Minister in der von Tbilisi eingesetzten provisorischen südossetischen Regierung gedient hatte
Authorities in breakaway South Ossetia said they arrested a former member of Tbilisi-based South Ossetian provisional administration, Teymuraz Jerapov, on April 22 “while trying to cross into South Ossetian border from Georgia” close to Sinaguri of Java district.
Jerapov, an ethnic Ossetian, served as economy minister for about two years in the provisional administration of South Ossetia – a body established by Tbilisi in late 2006 in an attempt to create alternative to Tskhinvali-based authorities.
A statement posted on a website of breakaway region’s government says that Jerapov, a Georgian citizen, was wanted by Tskhinvali for unspecified “crimes committed on the territory of South Ossetia”.
21 Apr. '10 Zwei hochrangige Beamtet des Innenministeriums wechseln ihre Posten: Erekle Kodua wird Leiter der Kriminalpolizei, Devi Chelidze wird Leiter der speziellen Eingreiftruppe
Erekle Kodua, who was head of a powerful special operative department at the Interior Ministry, was moved to the post of head of criminal police department.
Devi Chelidze, who previously served as head of the criminal police department, replaced Kodua.
Shota Khizanishvili, head of the Interior Ministry’s administration, said it was part of routine staff changes within the ministry.
Some Georgian media sources have speculated recently about disagreements between Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili, and Erekle Kodua; Kavkasia TV’s Report of the Week alleged on April 19 that those disagreements were highlighted by an arrest of Erekle Kodua’s relative last week for resisting police orders.
21 Apr. '10 Bei einem Autounfall bei Zugdidi wurde ein Junge von einem EUMM-Fahrzeug erfaßt und dabei getötet
A boy was killed in a car accident involving an SUV of EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM) in western region of Samegrelo on April 21.
An international staff member of the mission was driving mission’s Nissan Pathfinder, which hit the boy in the Zugdidi district, according to EUMM’s spokesperson.
The Georgian police investigate the case. All EUMM’s international staff members have diplomatic immunity.
“In the name of the Mission, all staff members as well as in my own name, I express my heartfelt condolences to the family of the young boy”, EUMM Head of Mission, Ambassador Hansjörg Haber said in a written statement.
20 Apr. '10 TV-Gesellschaften Rustavi 2 and Imedi geben ihre Preise für Werbesendezeiten bekannt
Price for a 30-second primetime political advertisement on Georgia's two leading television stations, Rustavi 2 and Imedi, varies from  USD 6,000 to maximum USD 16,000 ahead of the May 30 local elections.
UEFA Champions League's semifinal this month and a final next month leads the pack in terms of cost - USD 16,000 per 30 second ad - on Rustavi 2 TV, followed by USD 13,000 for a 30 second slot in 9pm news program Kurieri and USD 12,000 in weekly Kurieri P.S. Late evening comedy and entertainment shows follow with USD 10,000.
Price of political ad in Rustavi 2 TV is ten times more than price of a standard commercial on the same television station.
Rustavi 2 TV, which is the most watched Georgian broadcaster, claims it accounts up to 60% of Georgia's overall TV ad market.
A hugely popular Georgian TV comedy series, Shua Kalakshi, leads the pack on Imedi TV with USD 15,000 per 30 seconds, followed by other entertainment and comedy shows with price varying from USD 10,000 to 11,000. 30 second of political ad in Imedi TV's 8pm news bulleting, Kronika, costs USD 10,000.
According to the law ‘qualified’ political parties (as election code describes them) – those that won at least 4% of the vote in the last parliamentary elections and at least 3% of the vote in the last local elections –  must be granted 30 seconds of free airtime for every hour by private television stations and 60 seconds by the public broadcaster. Opposition candidates running for Tbilisi mayor are currently using this free airtime for political ads. The ruling party has yet to formally nominate its mayoral candidate - incumbent mayor Gigi Ugulava is expected to run for re-election.
20 Apr. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze sagt, dass Georgien bereit sei, ein Abkommen auf Gewaltverzicht mit Russland zu unterzeichnen, nicht aber mit Moskaus "Kumpanen" Sokhumi und Tskhinvali
Georgia is ready to sign non-use of force treaty with Russia, but not with Moscow’s “cronies” in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister said on April 19.
Speaking at a news conference at UN headquarters in New York, Vashadze said signing of this treaty with directly with Sokhumi and Tskhinvali, as Russia wants it, would be Tbilisi’s mistake, because it would help to legitimize Moscow’s proxy regimes in the occupied territories.
He said that although there was no “legal ground” to have a separate non-use of force agreement with Russia, as there already was August 12, 2008 ceasefire accord, Tbilisi could still sign it if “Russia is willing to get a supplementary agreement on non-use of force.”
“No problem, Georgia is ready to sign it with Russia anytime, anyplace,” he said. “But Russia does not want to sign that agreement; Russia wants us to sign it with representatives of those regimes in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali and this is out of question, because of two reasons; first: their [referring to authorities in the breakaway regions] signature do not have and will not have any legitimacy, they do not exist; second: if somehow we make this mistake and sign this agreement, not with the Russian Federation, but with so called states, then we are adding to their legitimacy and we are not prepared for that.”
He also said that the Georgian government’s strategy, approved in January, envisaging engagement with the residents of the breakaway regions, contains “a legal obligation” that Tbilisi will not use force.
Vashadze also said that Tbilisi was ready to engage in direct talks with Moscow, but the problem was that Russia “claims they will not speak with Georgia’s democratically elected government.”
“We are ready to talk with Russians anytime, anywhere. We are not afraid to talk to the Russian Federation,” he said. “Obviously Russia is not coming to the table, because of a simple reason – they have cornered themselves on August 26, [when Russia] recognized so called independence of so called South Ossetia and Abkhazia.”
“We are ready to talk without any preconditions, except of one – they have to learn to respect international law, territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of their neighbors.”
He said that Tbilisi had no contacts with Russians, except of Geneva talks, which, Vashadze said, were “stalled”, because of Russia’s “irritating policy” of “blocking everything” with the hands of its Abkhaz and South Ossetian “cronies”.
“But still Geneva talks as a format is indispensable and we will do everything to sustain that format and we will be flexible and constructive,” Vashadze said.
He also said that “minor” exception in the current absence of direct contacts between Moscow and Tbilisi was talks late last year, when it was agreed to reopen Zemo Larsi-Kazbegi border crossing point between Russia and Georgia. Vashadze said that by doing so Tbilisi “opted to help our Armenian friends” in having land access to Russia via Georgia.
Two rounds of talks were held in Yerevan, Armenia and Kazbegi, Georgia in October and December, 2009, respectively, between the Georgian and Russian officials – one in presence of the Armenian officials and the second one in presence of Swiss diplomats. With the diplomatic ties cut since the August war, Switzerland represents Russia's diplomatic interests in Georgia, as well as Georgia's diplomatic interests in Russia through respective countries’ interest sections in the Swiss embassies in Moscow and Tbilisi.
19 Apr. '10 Präsident Saakashvili setzt den USA-Besuch fort und spricht unter anderem in Harvard
After attending funeral of Polish President, Lech Kaczynski, in Krakow on Sunday, where he arrived from the United States, President Saakashvili will return back to the U.S. "to continue his very important visit", Davit Jalagania, the Georgian deputy foreign minister, said on Monday,
He said that President Saakashvili would meet with New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Saakashvili also plans to address an audience at the Harvard Institute of Politics and will also travel to Los Angeles to address an annual Milken Institute Global Conference on April 27.
19 Apr. '10 Drei Wahlblöcke sind für die lokalen Wahlen registriert
Ten parties have been grouped into three election blocs to run in the May 30 local elections on a joint ticket.
CEC said that it had registered Alliance for Georgia, uniting Our Georgia-Free Democrats; Republican Party; New Rights Party and Georgia’s Way. Irakli Alasania is the bloc’s candidate for Tbilisi mayor and ex-public defender, Sozar Subari, is running for the Tbilisi City Council chairmanship.
National Council – the second election bloc – unites ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia; Party of People and Conservative Party. The leader of the latter party, Zviad Dzidziguri is the bloc’s mayoral candidate and leader of Party of People, Koba Davitashvili, is the City Council chairmanship candidate.
Christian-Democratic Movement, a leading party in the parliamentary minority, led by MP Giorgi Targamadze, has established an election bloc with On Our Own and Christian-Democratic People’s Party with a formal name of Giorgi Targamadze, Inga Grigolia – Christian-Democratic Alliance. Ex-chief of the state oil corporation, Giorgi Chanturia, is bloc’s mayoral candidate and former TV anchor, Inga Grigolia, is a candidate for the City Council chair’s position.
16 other political parties, including the ruling National Movement, will run in the elections independently.
The deadline for formal nomination of mayoral candidates, as well as candidates for the City Council membership expires on April 30.
18 Apr. '10 Präsident Saakashvili verspricht bei einem Telefongespräch mit Roza Otunbayeva, der Vorsitzenden der Interimsregierung von Kirgistan, Unterstützung in jeder Angelegenheit
Roza Otunbayeva dankte dem Präsidenten für die humanitäre Hilfe.
President Saakashvili spoke by phone with head of the Kyrgyz interim government, Roza Otunbayeva, to pledge his support, the Georgian President's administration said on April 17.
The phone conversation comes two days after Kurmanbek Bakiyev, the ousted Kyrgyz president, resigned and went into exile and nine days after the Georgian President blamed Russia for meddling in the Kyrgyz developments leading to Bakiyev's ouster.
"[Roza Otunbayeva] thanked the Georgian President for humanitarian aid and Mikheil Saakashvili, on his part, has pledged assistance in any issue," the Georgian President's administration said in a brief statement.
Georgia sent humanitarian aid, mainly medicines, to Bishkek on April 11.
In a written statement released on April 12 the Foreign Ministry of the Kyrgyz interim government thanked Georgia for the aid,but also expressed its "deep bewilderment" over Georgia's statement suggesting that Russia was behind the Kyrgyz developments, It said that "discontent accumulated among the Kyrgyz people because of the actions by the previous authorities, as well as because of nepotism and corruption" were the causes of the events, which took place in Kyrgyzstan on April 7.
"Despite [Moscow's] denials, according to the information available for us, it is absolutely obvious that Russia is roughly interfering with Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs and is trying to play geopolitical games at the expense of the Kyrgyz people," President Saakashvili's spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, said on April 8.
"We call on all the forces, including those who are in control of the capital [Bishkek] not to allow outside forces to use you against the fundamental interests of the country," she added.
However, on the same day, Georgian Foreign Minister, Grigol Vashadze, said while speaking at a joint news conference with his Finnish counterpart in Helsinki: "I do not have any facts, which could possibly prove any foreign involvement into those [Kyrgyz] events.”
17 Apr. '10 Amtspersonen: Vulkanasche unterbricht den Abflug der georgischen Delegation nach Polen
Flight ban caused by ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano prevented a group of Georgian government officials and senior lawmakers, including Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze, to depart for Poland to attend memorial service for Polish President plane crash victims in Warsaw on Saturday, officials said.
“It is very unfortunate that we won’t be able to arrive,” Davit Bakradze said in the Tbilisi airport on Saturday.
He said President Saakashvili, who is currently in the United States, still planned to attend funeral of the late Polish President in Krakow. “I hope conditions will be better tomorrow and the President will be able to arrive in Krakow,” Davit Bakradze said.
"Attendance of foreign dignitaries at the memorial service [in Warsaw] was not envisaged, but the Polish side made an exception for the Georgian side and invited a high-level delegation; although, unfortunately the Georgian delegation could not arrive," Konstantine Kavtaradze, Georgia’s ambassador to Poland, told Rustavi 2 TV.
16 Apr. '10 OSZE setzt Mission zur Beobachtung der lokalen Wahlen ein
OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) has deployed 16 experts based in Tbilisi and 24 long-term observers will be deployed from next weekend across the country to monitor pre-election campaign ahead of the May 30 local elections.
In addition, ODIHR intends to deploy 350 short-term observers immediately prior to the polls to monitor election day, vote tabulation and other election-related procedures.
Head of the mission is Audrey Glover, a British diplomat, who was a director of ODIHR in 1994-1997 and served as head of British delegation to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights for five years till 2003. She was head of OSCE/ODIHR election observation missions to Belarus (2004), Kazakhstan (2005), the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (2006) and Ukraine (2007).
"The upcoming municipal elections will be an important test for Georgia's continued commitment to holding democratic elections in line with OSCE commitments," Ambassador Glover said on April 16 in Tbilisi.
The mission will assess the legislative framework and its application, electoral campaign activities, the media coverage of the campaign, the performance of the election administration and relevant government bodies as well as the resolution of election-related disputes.
The mission will produce two interim reports and a report on preliminary findings will be available on the day after the elections. A final report will be released eight weeks after completion of the election process, Ambassador Glover said.
16 Apr. '10 Präsident Saakashvili zur vorgetragenen Kritik bezüglich dem ‘Mißbrauch administrativer Ressourcen’ im Wahlkampf
“The only criticism” expected in address of the authorities in a pre-election period is allegations about “abuse of administrative resources,” President Saakashvili told an audience at Washington-based think-tank, Atlantic Council, on April 15.
“But we are going to use whatever resources we have [in order] to improve people’s life, even if they say we are abusing it [administrative resources]; OK we are abusing it, but we’ll still do it; but I think it’s legal,” Saakashvili said.
Saakashvili mentioned “limitation on abuse of administration resources” while responding a question from the audience about what his administration was doing to secure free and fair local elections planned for May 30. He listed limitations on use of administrative resources among other measures, like providing opposition more airtime through turning public TV’s second channel into political programming, as well as funding of parties to allow them to re-check voter lists.
“There will always be a bunch of experts from abroad who will say: ‘Oh, you should stop this road making, school building and bridge building and healthcare changes and new hospitals and all kind of stuff, because it’s helping the government and it’s like spending budget for electoral needs’. I wonder how Mayor of D.C. or Chicago win their elections. I [say] clearly to every foreigner: forget it; we will build bridges, we will build roads, we will build schools, we will make sure people have nicer municipal infrastructure environment, they have nicer healthcare, better schools for kids and maybe they’ll vote for us because of that; but that’s their decision. We take blame for everything that’s not good in Georgia and… at least we should claim credit for what is left,” Saakashvili said.
“I think that will be the only criticism, frankly; I do not think anybody can criticize us on media,” he added.
Late last month, Transparency International-Georgia released a report on use of administrative resources ahead of the May 30 local elections. The report notes “an unprecedented increase” in the funding of local self-government bodies, including of the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office ahead of the polls.
Incumbent Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava, who is expected to run for re-election, said in a rebuttal of the report that his administration’s policies, including social programs had no electoral motives.
On April 15 Transparency International-Georgia responded with a statement saying that analyze of use of administrative resources during election and non-election years revealed “an increase in public spending during election years.”
“The alternative conclusion would be that not enough money was spent during non-election years and the [Mayor’s] Office is striving to make amends prior to the elections. Either way, election-year spending is significantly higher than non-election year spending,” TI-Georgia said.
15 Apr. '10 Oppositionsdemonstration vor dem Parlament
Einige hundert Personen sammelten sich, um "die Solidariät gegenüber denjeinigen auszudrücken", die die Opposition "politische Gefangene" und "illegal festgehaltene Personen" nennt.
Few hundred people gathered outside the parliament at an opposition-organized rally on April 15 "to express solidarity" towards, what the opposition calls, "political prisoners" and "persons held in prisons illegally."
The rally was a follow-up to a joint appeal, which a large group of opposition parties, both parliamentary and non-parliamentary, made earlier this week calling on international community and Tbilisi-based foreign diplomats in an attempt to highlight the problem of "persons held for political reasons."
Although protesters briefly blocked the Rustaveli Avenue outside the Parliament,  the rally dispersed peacefully with no incidents reported.
15 Apr. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: ‘Direkte Gespräche mit US-Präsident Obama sind nur eine Frage der Zeit’
President Saakashvili said on April 13 that he was sure his face-to-face meeting with President Obama was “just a matter of time” and he would definitely have an opportunity of a lengthy meeting sometime in the future.
During an interview with Fox News on April 13, Saakashvili was asked why did not he “get one-on-one with the President” Obama. Saakashvili responded, that during the nuclear security summit in Washington he had an opportunity “to interact with President Obama.”
“And I am meeting at length with Vice President [Joe Biden] tomorrow,” Saakashvili said about the meeting which took place at the White House on April 14.
“I really had a very good telephone conversation with President Obama [on April 6]. He assured us of his support,” he said.
“I am sure it’s just a matter of time when we have direct talks with him at the White House or elsewhere, where we can discuss all the issue at length… I’m really confident it’s gonna happen,” Saakashvili added.
15 Apr. '10 Alasania: man sollte "ernsthaft über den Aufbau normaler Beziehungen mit Russland nachdenken"
Irakli Alasania, leader of opposition Alliance for Georgia and Tbilisi mayoral candidate, said he deemed it important “to seriously start thinking about establishing normal relations with the Russian Federation”, calling it Georgia’s “vital interest.”
“The Russian Federation has a special role in global security. Georgia, a country which aspires to be part of European house, has no other way than to take into consideration in its foreign policy this reality,” he said in an interview with the Georgian daily, Rezonansi, published on April 15.
“Despite the current difficult situation, which at a glance looks like to be a deadlock, I think that resources to launch political dialogue between the Russian Federation and Georgia exist,” Alasania is quoted by the newspaper.
He said that he did not see any sign that the international community would revise its current policy of non-recognition of Georgia’s two breakaway regions. “But at the same time, sooner relations with the Russian Federation are restored, it will definitely contribute to the security of our country,” he said.
“I think, that today we can raise restoring trade, economic, culture and humanitarian ties as major issues. And I can tell you directly that this is a desire of majority of our society and our national interests should be our first priority. It is in our vital interests to normalize relations with our neighbor, which possesses nuclear weapon,” he said.
Alasania also said that his meeting with Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, on a sideline of the Munich security conference in early February was a source of “cautious optimism” for him.
“We spoke about future of Georgian-Russian relations and I have seen his [Lavrov’s] desire in having more normal relations and in having these relations based on restoration of mutual confidence. It was during that conversation, when an opinion was expressed that restoring trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian relations would be a starting point for beginning to think about resolving much more problematic and sharp issues,” he said.
“I have also seen that there is not a single issue in bilateral relations that can not be possible to resolve,” Alasania added.
“So, today, when Europe is establishing much closer relations with Russia, we have to do something based on our interests. We will be able to better guarantee protection of our national interests, if we manage to normalize relations with Russia.”
He also said that fueling tensions in North Caucasus was a threat for Georgia too. “So I think there should be issues of shared interests [between Georgia and Russia],” Alasania said.
“Georgia should become an issue of accord, instead of confrontation between Russia and the west. It must be a priority of our foreign policy.”
He also said that normalization of relations with Russia would also contribute to a long-term settlement of Georgia’s conflicts.
“As far as occupied territories are concerned,” Alasania said, “I am sure, that Georgia’s new authorities, which will be able to bring confidence in relations with Abkhazians and Ossetians, as well as to launch talks with them on implementing European-funded trade-economic, communications, infrastructure project, will manage to achieve consent [of the breakaway regions] on co-existence in a common space. Naturally, it requires restoring of normal relations with the Russian Federation and also their [Russians’] contribution to restoring of peace in Georgia and restoring rights of Georgian population in the occupied territories.”
15 Apr. '10 US-Vize-Präsident Biden trifft Präsident Saakashvili
U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden, met with President Mikheil Saakashvili on April 14 at the White House and thanked for Georgia’s “substantial contribution” to the Afghan operation, the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi said.
“The Vice President reiterated the United States' support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.  The Vice President encouraged President Saakashvili's efforts to strengthen Georgia through democratic and economic reforms designed to ensure stability and prosperity,” the embassy said.
“They discussed the deep and abiding friendship between the people of the United States and Georgia based on the shared values of democracy, freedom and respect for human rights,” it said.
14 Apr. '10 Innenminister gibt bekannt, dass eine kleine Menge angereichertes Uran aufgegriffen wurde
Georgia has foiled illicit trafficking of “a small amount of highly enriched uranium”, or HEU, last month, the Georgian Interior Ministry said on April 14.
It said that law enforcement agencies seized HEU from “a group of foreign citizens”, who have been detained.
The Interior Ministry has declined a request for details of the case, saying that “additional information will be available after the investigation is completed.”
The ministry said that Georgia had already informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about the case.
The Interior Ministry’s statement comes after the Georgian delegation announced at the high-profile nuclear security summit in Washington on April 13 that Georgia foiled eight attempts of illicit trafficking of enriched uranium during the last ten years, including the recent one in March, 2010.
14 Apr. '10 26 Parteien registriert, sich um die lokalen Wahlen zu bewerben
Parteien Registered to Run in Local Elections
   1. Democratic Party of Georgia;
   2. Future Georgia;
   3. National-Democratic Party;
   4. Political Movement - Solidarity;
   5. Our Georgia–Free Democrats;
   6. Republican Party;
   7. Political Union - New Rights Party;
   8. Political Union - Public Democrats;
   9. Political Party – Our Country (Chveni Kvekana);
  10. Christian-Democratic Movement;
  11. Political Union of Citizens  - Christian-Democratic Peoples’ Party;
  12. Georgian Troupe (Kartuli Dasi);
  13. Political Union of Citizens -  Public Alliance of Whole Georgia;
  14. Political Union 'On Our Own';
  15. Movement – Justice for Georgia;
  16. The National Party of Radical Democrats of Georgia;
  17. Conservative Party of Georgia;
  18. Political Union - Tavisupleba;
  19. Georgia's Way;
  20. Party of Peoples’ Party;
  21. Political Union – United National Movement;
  22. Party of Future;
  23. Political Movement of Law enforcement Veterans, Patriots and Pensioners – Mamulishvili;
  24. Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists);
  25. Union of Georgian Sportsmen;
  26. Movement for United Georgia;
13 Apr. '10 Inter-Agency Group IATF von der Regierung eingesetzt, um "faire Wahlen sicherzustellen"
The Georgian government announced on April 13 about setting up of an inter-agency task force for free and fair elections (IATF) in the run-up to the May 30 local elections.
The group, similar to the one which operated during 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections, is a rapid reaction mechanism aimed “at enhancing coordination between various governmental agencies and ensuring that the elections are held in the most transparent and fair environment,” the government said.
It said that IATF members include senior officials from the Interior Ministry, Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Justice, State Ministry for Infrastructure and Regional Development as well as the National Security Council of Georgia.
“The IATF will endeavor to actively engage and cooperate with domestic as well as international election monitoring organizations and missions as well as other stakeholders. In a spirit of constructive cooperation the body will address all concerns and questions raised by representatives of various monitoring organizations as well as diplomatic missions,” the government said in a statement.
13 Apr. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: ‘Ich wäre verrückt, den imitierten Bericht zu befürworten, da in dieser Sendung die Hauptsache, die sich ereignet, ist, dass die georgische Armee Verrat begeht und ich getötet werde ...’
In an interview with the U.S. radio station, NPR, President Saakashvili has strongly denied giving approval to a fake TV news report on Imedi TV channel, which caused a brief panic in Georgia month ago.
During the interview with NPR’s All Things Considered, host asked the President if he knew about the broadcast in advance. “Everybody knew because they [the TV station] advertised about the thing the whole week,” Saakashvili responded.
Asked whether he in any way had approved such a broadcast, Saakashvili said: “I would have been crazy to approve it because in that broadcast the main thing that happens that Georgian army betrayed and I was killed… Any government should be crazy to be happy about those two facts.”
Saakashvili was also asked whether the broadcast was calculated to panic the public and to depict the opposition as pro-Russian. “The people that depicted there, they are not running in elections,” Saakashvili responded. He attributed the fake TV news report to “televisions fight for ratings.” “These days, this is all about advertising money,” he said.
President Saakashvili, who is in Washington taking part in high-profile nuclear security summit, alluded to Imedi TV fake report in a speech on April 9 when he signed a decision on setting up of, as he put it, “a fact-finding commission on Russia’s 200-year old policy towards Georgia.”
“If someone thinks that bad stories are only in scary, panic-triggering TV broadcasts, I would advise them to keep a close eye on developments with took place couple of days ago in one of the former Soviet countries [referring to Kyrgyzstan],” Saakashvili said on April 9.
13 Apr. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze: USA werden nie die int. Isolation Georgiens zulassen
Die Teilnahme Georgiens auf dem Gipfel über nukleare Sicherheit in Washington ist ein klares Zeichen, das Russland es nicht schaffte, sein Ziel der int. Isolation Georgiens zu erreichen.
Georgia’s participation in nuclear security summit in Washington is a clear sign that Russia has failed to achieve its goal to internationally isolate Tbilisi, Grigol Vashadze, the Georgian foreign minister said.
The Georgian delegation, led by President Saakashvili is participating in the summit held on April 12-13.
“The most important in the fact that we are participating in this conference is that despite many efforts, the Russian Federation has failed to achieve Georgia’s isolation,” Vashadze told Rustavi 2 television station in Washington.
He said that although Georgia “has neither nuclear arsenals nor nuclear energy” the country was anyway enlisted among “limited number of countries” taking part in the high-profile summit in Washington.
“We are here first and foremost because it is a political message, which President Obama also expressed during a phone conversation with President Saakashvili on April 6; the United States and the current administration will never allow Georgia’s isolation,” Vashadze said.
13 Apr. '10 PACE-Beobachter besuchen Georgien
Monitors from Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) are visiting Georgia from April 12 to April 16 for fact-finding trip ahead of discussions of August, 2008 war consequences in PACE later this month.
Mátyás Eörsi and David Wilshire, co-rapporteurs from PACE’s monitoring committee on honouring obligations by the Council of Europe member states met with government officials, Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze and civil society representatives on April 12. On Tuesday they are visiting war-affected region of Shida Kartli and on April 14 PACE delegation will travel to breakaway Abkhazia.
PACE has passed three resolutions on consequences of the August war. The recent one in last September was calling on Russia to fulfill its obligations, imposed upon it by PACE’s January, 2009 and October, 2008 resolutions, before the end of 2009.
A draft agenda of PACE session for April 28 also includes a statement by Heidi Tagliavini; she led EU-funded Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on the Conflict in Georgia (IIFFMCG), which produced its report in September, 2009.
12 Apr. '10 Oppositionsparteien verfassen einen gemeinsamen Appell an int. Organisationen und Diplomaten, um die genaue Beobachtung von Strafverfahren verhafteter Personen anzumahnen
A large group of opposition parties, both parliamentary and non-parliamentary, made a joint appeal to the international organizations and foreign diplomats on April 12 to closely watch court proceedings into cases of persons arrested for, as the opposition says, political reasons.
The joint appeal made on April 12 in particular focuses on the case of brother and a son of Eka Beselia, a former member of ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili's party, Movement for United Georgia. Her brother Sergo Beselia and son Rati Milorava were arrested last August and in December Batumi City Court sentenced them to 2.5-year and 1.5-year prison term, respectively, for hooliganism and disobedience to the police orders. Eka Beselia claims that her brother and son were arrested and convicted because of her political activities. She quit Okruashvili's party in February to establish a public movement with a goal "to struggle for illegally arrested persons' rights and independent judiciary system." Beselia claims there are 56 people arrested for "political motives" under the pretext of various criminal charges.
The Court of Appeals in Kutaisi plans to hear the case of Beselia and Milorava on April 16. The political parties, which signed the joint appeal, said that they plan to hold a protest rally outside the parliament at 3pm local time on April 15.
"There are issues on which we should be united" Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said during the signing of the appeal.
"I am glad that this issue united us all," said Koba Davitashvili, leader of Party of People, part of National Council, which also includes ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli's party and the Conservative Party.
The appeal, among others, was also signed by Alliance for Georgia; Christian-Democratic Movement; Labor Party; National Forum; Industrialist Party and Levan Gachechiladze's public movement Defend Georgia.
12 Apr. '10 Amtierender Bürgermeister Gigi Ugulava kommentiert lokale Wahlen
Er weist den Bericht von Watchdog zurück und sagt: "Ich tue alles, was ich kann, um faire Wahlen zu garantieren."
    * Incumbent mayor rejects watchdog’s report;
    * "I’m doing all I can to ensure fair elections"
Gigi Ugulava, an incumbent mayor, said he would “make a formal announcement about my candidacy” for mayoral race in May 30 local elections “in the coming weeks.”
Deadline for formal nomination of mayoral candidates expires on April 30.
The ruling party has not yet nominated its candidate. Although Ugulava has always been regarded as unchallenged candidate of the ruling party, delay in making a formal nomination has recently triggered rumors that the ruling elite could be considering other options as well.
Ugulava made the announcement through a lengthy English-language statement released on April 12.
The statement was made in response to a report by Transparency International-Georgia on use of administrative resources ahead of the local elections. The report notes “an unprecedented increase” in the funding of local self-government bodies, including of the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office ahead of the polls.
“I welcome the scrutiny from this group and others. But it is important that discussions of these issues be based on accurate facts,” Ugulava says.
In the statement Ugulava says that to get full benefits of first-ever direct election of Tbilisi mayor, people “need to have strong confidence that the election is conducted in a way that is free and fair.”
“I am personally committed as Tbilisi’s mayor to doing everything possible to ensure this campaign and election set new standards for openness, transparency, and public confidence,” he says.
The statement includes the list of measures, which Ugulava says, the authorities have undertaken as part of President Saakashvili’s pledge to secure transparency and level playing field ahead of the elections, including rule of electing Central Election Commission and launching of new political programming on public broadcaster’s Second Channel.
“Despite these and other steps, some observers – including a recent report by Transparency International (TI) Georgia – have criticized the way my city administration is doing its work and carrying out certain programs, and suggested our actions have electoral motives,” Ugulava says. “Unfortunately, TI’s report contains factual errors and shows a misunderstanding of our budget process.”
Then the statement addresses some of the allegations laid out in the TI-Georgia report, in particular the one which says that number of the Tbilisi Mayor’s Office employees increased by 410, while GEL 5.5 million was added to the salary fund, suggesting that state money could be used to employ people, who would be engaged in the ruling party’s election campaign.
Ugulava, however, says that those 410 persons were not new employees, as they previously worked in various capacities for the municipal services, or were hired as temporary contracted personnel before becoming staff members as a result of restructuring process.
“Due to a change in law, many contract employees who have worked for the city in the past are now classified as staff [members]. TI erroneously classifies these individuals as new hires,” Ugulava’s statement reads.
He also rejected any suggestion that increase of monthly pensions by GEL 10 for only those pensioners who are registered in Tbilisi was a violation of law. TI-Georgia report says that the move was against the law as pension policy is not part of the self-government powers and in addition it was also discriminatory towards other pensioners living outside Tbilisi.
Ugulava also says that spending was fully in line with the law, which stipulates that any city spending in an election year should be approved during the previous year by the City Council. “We have done that,” he says, adding that social programs were approved by the Tbilisi City Council during budget deliberations in 2009. Tbilisi City Council approved the budget in late December.
He also claimed that TI-Georgia report contained implications that that it was somehow improper for a mayor to take care of the needs of his people or to carry out any popular initiative, just because it is an election year.
“Should we suspend pensions, stop bus service, cancel garbage pickup, and shut down the kindergartens whenever there is an election approaching, just because those efforts are popular?  That would be a very odd notion of democracy,” he says.
“The mayoral campaign period began this month, and I will make a formal announcement about my candidacy in the coming weeks. Right now, my focus is simply on doing all I can to make Tbilisi a better city… I am also doing all I can to ensure the election in May is free and fair. I see no contradiction between the two,” the statement reads.
12 Apr. '10 Erklärung durch den Bürgermeister von Tbilisi
Source: Tbilisi Mayor's press office
The Path to a Free and Fair Election in Tbilisi
By Mayor Gigi Ugulava
This year Tbilisi will make history, as we hold our first-ever direct election for mayor. The change is important not just for Tbilisi, but for all of Georgia. It is another step forward in the country’s democratic progress. It means that nearly a quarter of the country’s population will have a more direct say in local affairs. The direct mayoral election can encourage people to get more involved in efforts to make Tbilisi a great regional and international center of culture, commerce, finance, and tourism.
I believe this direct election will offer an important opportunity for a wide range of candidates to offer their differing visions for Tbilisi’s future. But to get the full benefits of this direct election, people also need to have strong confidence that the election is conducted in a way that is free and fair. I am personally committed as Tbilisi’s mayor to doing everything possible to ensure this campaign and election set new standards for openness, transparency, and public confidence.
Along with the President and Parliament, we have taken major steps toward that goal. Fulfilling a promise he made to the nation in July, last year President Saakashvili agreed with the opposition parties on a new consensus method for selecting the chairman of the Central Election Commission. In January, the President and Parliament selected a new chairman, Zurab Kharatishvili, using that process. Mr. Kharatishvili has launched a new effort to clean the electoral lists in Tbilisi and across the country, even providing financial resources to the opposition parties to help with this work.
In February, the Public Broadcaster launched its new “Channel 2,” which is providing extensive air time for the opposition, in addition to coverage of the Parliament. This will help ensure that all candidates and parties running in our May election can reach the public with their messages. In addition, I have welcomed the idea of a first-ever televised debate among the candidates for Mayor, which will provide a direct way for the voters to evaluate the range of people vying for this office.
Georgia will also welcome hundreds of foreign election observers in May, as we have in past elections, to provide an independent assessment of the voting.
Despite these and other steps, some observers – including a recent report by Transparency International (TI) Georgia – have criticized the way my city administration is doing its work and carrying out certain programs, and suggested our actions have electoral motives. I welcome the scrutiny from this group and others.  But it is important that discussions of these issues be based on accurate facts.
Unfortunately, TI’s report contains factual errors and shows a misunderstanding of our budget process. For example, TI claims that 410 staff were added to the Mayor’s Office in 2010, but this is not the case.
TI classifies many staff as “new” to the Mayor’s Office when in reality they work in other departments or capacities such as the Architect Service.
Additionally, due to a change in law, many contract employees who have worked for the city in the past are now classified as staff. TI erroneously classifies these individuals as new hires.
TI also asserts that certain social programs, such as the city’s pension payments or transport discount cards for the elderly, are illegal.  Not only are they completely legal, they also operated in previous years – including non-election years.
Contrary to the impression given by the TI report, every tetri of the city’s spending complies with the national law designed to prevent administrative resources being used for political purposes. That law requires any city spending in an election year to be approved during the previous year by the city council.  We have done that.  Every program TI mentions was evaluated and approved by the city council during budget deliberations in 2009.
I am adamant that city administrative resources not be used for electoral purposes, and I have stressed this across city hall. But I also am adamant about doing my job as mayor. I reject what seems to be an implication of the TI report – that it is somehow improper for a mayor to take care of the needs of his people or to carry out any popular initiative, just because it is an election year.
Should we suspend pensions, stop bus service, cancel garbage pickup, and shut down the kindergartens whenever there is an election approaching, just because those efforts are popular?  That would be a very odd notion of democracy.
The fact is, mayors all over the world, including in the most democratic states, do their best to take care of the needs of their cities’ residents, right up through Election Day.  When Michael Bloomberg ran for re-election as Mayor of New York City last year, he touted a new program to retrain and place city residents into jobs, he started work on a new police station, and he launched a new plan to improve the city’s subways and buses.  Nobody called that “administrative resources.”  They called it “doing the job of mayor.”
Are there advantages to competing for elective office as an incumbent?  Of course.  But there are also disadvantages.  People hold incumbents accountable for their records. If there are bad streets, or dirty playgrounds, or broken buses – all those become reasons to vote against the incumbent. Particularly after an intensely difficult economic period, being the incumbent is a mixed blessing.
The mayoral campaign period began this month, and I will make a formal announcement about my candidacy in the coming weeks. Right now, my focus is simply on doing all I can to make Tbilisi a better city – to improve services, expand employment, and make our historic city shine. I am also doing all I can to ensure the election in May is free and fair. I see no contradiction between the two. Democracy is about openly and responsibly responding to the people’s needs.  And that is what I am trying to do.
11 Apr. '10 Tag der Trauer in Georgia zum Tod vom polnischen Präsidenten Kaczynski
April 11 was declared a day of national mourning in Georgia to commemorate late Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife, top brass of the armed forces and a group of Polish leading politicians killed in a Saturday plane crash in western Russia.
A church service to remember victims of the plane crash was held in the Catholic Church in Tbilisi attended by several senior government officials ; people were bringing flowers at the Polish embassy and signing a book of condolences at a separate location in Youth Palace.
"Georgia lost the greatest friend in the international community, Poland and Europe lost the greatest politician," the Georgian president's administration in a statement.
"The President of Georgia lost his personal friend, who cared about Georgia permanently, a person who was in deep love with Georgia, was our country’s supporter and an advisor."
Lech Kaczynski has been posthumously granted the Title of the National Hero of Georgia.
10 Apr. '10 Präsident Saakashvili: ‘Kaczynski spielte eine erstaunliche Rolle im Kampf für Georgiens Freiheit’
Polish President, Lech Kaczynski, who died in plane crash in Russia on April 10 “will always be remembered as absolutely outstanding figure of Polish history, of European history and certainly of the history of my region,” President Saakashvili said.
Speaking with CNN from London studio, Saakashvili described Kaczynski as a person with “great courage, big heart and principles.”
The Polish President, central bank head and the country's military chief were among 96 people killed when their plane crashed as it neared Smolensk airport in western Russia killing everyone on board. The delegation was en route to commemorate Poles killed in mass murders in Katyn under orders from Soviet leader Josef Stalin in 1940.
The Georgian President’s administration announced that Kaczynski was posthumously honored with an award of National Hero of Georgia for “showing heroism in defending Georgia’s interests” internationally. The statement also notes about Kaczynski’s role during the August, 2008, when he, along with presidents of Ukraine and Lithuania, as well as PMs from Latvia and Estonia arrived in Tbilisi in show of support.
I was a young politicians when I first met him and since that moment we became close friends and I never called him the President, I called him Lech,” Saakashvili said in an interview with CNN.
“If I had to name who played an amazing role in terms of fighting for Georgia’s freedom, for Georgia’s future, I would put President Kaczynski very high in that gallery. And that’s not an exaggeration. I think my countrymen feel that way. We have seen his courage, we have seen his personal commitment,” he said.
Saakashvili also said that “there is something incredibly evil” about the tragic death of the Polish President.
Asked what he meant when saying “evil”, Saakashvili responded: “I mean the way he died. Of course, there is a symbolism in that. I do not want to comment about it.”
“I think ultimately, what he achieved, the legacy he leaves behind in terms of emotions, politics, human relations, the warmth of his heart… will outlast everything else and that will be something, that will stay for generations and generations,” Saakashvili said.
“I think that his ideals will prevail ultimately, good will always defeat evil,” he added.
10 Apr. '10 Georgien drückt Beleid zu Kaczynski’s Tod aus
The Georgian government has expressed its condolences to the Polish people over death of President Lech Kaczynski.
The Polish President was killed when Tu-154 plane, carrying at least 96 people, crashed as it neared Smolensk airport in western Russia killing everyone on board.
“We express our deepest condolences over the loss of this great person,” Georgian PM Nika Gilauri said at a government meeting, which started with minute of silence in memory of the Polish President.
“This is a tragedy not only for the Polish people, but for us as well. President Kaczynski was a patriot of our country too and it is a great loss for every freedom-loving nation,” Temur Iakobashvili, the Georgian state minister for reintegration, said.
Davit Bakradze, Georgian parliamentary chairman, said Kaczynski was “a brave person, who always stood beside Georgia.
“He was Georgia’s great friend. We will never forget August, 2008 when despite risks he arrived in Georgia to stand beside us.
9 Apr. '10 Außenminister Grigol Vashadze trifft den finnischen Außenminister Alexander Stubb in Helsinki
Finland is in favor of working “very strongly towards” Association Agreement between EU and Georgia, Alexander Stubb, the Finnish foreign minister, said after meeting with his Georgian counterpart in Helsinki on April 8.
Speaking at joint news conference after the meeting the two ministers said that Georgia-EU relations, as well as issues related with conflicts in Georgia and relations with Russia were discussed.
The Finnish Foreign Ministry said in a press release: “Minister Stubb emphasized the importance of reforms and pointed out that the EU expects Georgia to hold its local elections in May in keeping with the rules of democracy.”
During the press conference the Georgian Foreign Minister was asked about Tbilisi’s position on the Kyrgyz developments, in particular whether Tbilisi thought there was any foreign involvement in those events.
“As far as Georgia is concerned and myself… I do not have any facts, which could possibly prove any foreign involvement into those events,” Vashadze said.
In a statement released on the evening of April 8 the Georgian President’s administration blamed Russia for “roughly interfering” in the internal affairs of Kyrgyzstan and accused Moscow of playing its “geopolitical games at the expense of the Kyrgyz people”.
9 Apr. '10 Die Alianz "National Council", eine Koalition aus "Movement for Fair Georgia", "Conservative Party" and "Party of People", benennt Zviad Dzidziguri von der "Conservative Party" als Kandidaten für die Wahl zum Bürgermeister von Tbilisi
National Council, a coalition of Movement for Fair Georgia, Conservative Party and Party of People, named on April 9 Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party, as its candidate for Tbilisi mayoral post.
The National Council said Dzidziguri was selected through public opinion survey. Another potential candidate of the Council was Koba Davitashvili, the leader of Party of People. Davitashvili will be the National Council’s candidate for the Tbilisi City Council chairmanship.
9 Apr. '10 Georgien auf dem US-Russland-Treffen in Prag angesprochen
US-Regierungsberater McFaul sagte: "Präventionsmechanismen, Alarm, all derartige Dinge, die wir zur Entschärfung eines möglichen Konflikts haben, den wir sich zusammenbrauen sehen, haben, lieber als nachher nur darauf zu reagieren. Und Georgien war heute in jener Disskussion angesprochen worden.
Georgia was raised during the U.S.-Russia summit in Prague in the context of those issues on which the two countries have disagreements, a White House senior advisor said.
U.S. and Russian Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed a new arms deal on April 8 to restrict the number of nuclear weapons each country holds.
“I think we've made remarkable achievement in a short amount of time.  But I also want to underscore we also talked about the things that we disagree about,” Michael McFaul, President Obama's senior director for Russian affairs, told reporters in Prague on April 8.
In this context, he said, that “Georgia came up today again.”
He also said that crisis prevention mechanisms in Europe needed to be strengthened.
“Prevention mechanisms, alert, all those kinds of things that so when we see a potential conflict brewing we have ways to defuse it, rather than just reacting to it afterwards.  And Georgia was invoked today in that discussion,” McFaul said.
8 Apr. '10 Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, ein Sohn vom früheren Präsidenten Zviad Gamsakhurdia, zu neuneinhalb Jahren Gefängnis verurteilt
Er wurde wegen Mordversuchs und illegalen Waffenbesitzes verurteilt. In einem Streit hatte er einen Mann verwundet.
8 Apr. '10 Abgeordnete senden int. Appell an die Abgeordnete von 31 Ländern: Abchasien und Südossetien sollen als von Russland besetzte Gebiete erklärt werden
der Appell: Brief vom Kommittee für auswärtige Beziehungen des georgischen Parlaments - weitere Appelle des Parlaments
Georgian parliamentary committee for foreign relations has requested lawmakers from 31 countries to “declare the two Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as being territories under Russian occupation and recognise the ethnic cleansing committed by Russia” in those territories.
“We sincerely hope that you can adopt appropriate statements of support on these matters,” a letter by the parliamentary committee reads.
The letter, according to the parliamentary committee for foreign relations, was sent to its counterpart committees of legislative bodies from 20 EU-member states, plus Norway and Island, as well as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, New Zeeland, South Korea, Japan, Israel and the United States.
“Russian policy continues to pursue the systematic undermining of Georgian sovereignty, the increased militarization of the territories Moscow has occupied, and the justification of ethnic cleansing campaigns used against Georgians in those territories. All components of this policy seek to derail Georgia’s progress and ongoing efforts at reform, as well as Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic foreign policy alignment,” the letter reads.
8 Apr. '10 Acht oppositionelle Aktivisten vom "National Council" freigelassen, nachdem sie mit einer Geldstrafe belegt wurden
Eight activists from National Council, a coalition of Movement for Fair Georgia, Conservative Party and Party of People, were detained after a scuffle with the police on April 8.
One of them, a political secretary of Party of People, Alexander Shalamberidze, was released after “a verbal reprimand” for violation of public order. Seven others were released after the court fined them with GEL 400 each.
The incident in the suburb of Tbilisi, Digomi, started when National Council leaders, including Zurab Nogaideli of Movement for Fair Georgia; Koba Davitashvili of Party of People and Zviad Dzidziguri of Conservative Party, accompanied by their respective party activists failed to obtain their election campaign-related materials from a printing house. The printing house was sealed up, allegedly by tax service and its entrance was sealed off by the police, which barred National Council leaders and activists from entering into the printing house.
After that the opposition activists, which claimed that the authorities sealed up the printing house deliberately to obstruct National Council’s election campaign, tried to block traffic on nearby street, but the police intervened triggering a minor scuffle between the police and activists.
Zurab Nogaideli, ex-PM and leader of Movement for Fair Georgia, said the incident demonstrated once again the authorities attempts “to terrorize” opposition activists ahead of May 30 local elections.
“But no one will be able to frighten us… We will destroy these authorities,” Nogaideli said.
The National Council complained for number of times recently that the authorities were targeting printing houses where the National Council was printing its election-related materials.
8 Apr. '10 Moskau und Tskhinvali unterzeichnen ein Abkommen zu russischen Militärbasen
Moscow and Tskhinvali signed on April 7 an agreement according to which Russia will operate military base in the breakaway region for 49 years.
According to the agreement, signed by Russia’s Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Defense Minister of breakaway region Yuri Tanayev, the military base will protect “sovereignty and security of South Ossetia” and “to counter acts of armed attacks by international terrorist formations.”
A similar agreement on operation of a military base in Abkhazia was signed between Moscow and Sokhumi in February, 2010.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said that such agreements “signed between the occupant country and the proxy regime created” by Russia “has no legal effects and is invalid.”
“Instead of carrying out its international obligations, Russia strengthens military presence on the occupied territories of Georgia and tries to place the process of creation of military bases for its occupation troops within ‘quasi legitimate’ frames,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry’s statement reads.
“At the same time, it is obvious that such actions of Russia just only promote destabilization in the region and create the favorable ground for constant provocations on the part of Russia and proxy regimes.”
8 Apr. '10 Georgien strebt Visa-freien Reiseverkehr mit der EU für 2013 an
President Saakashvili said it was his "ambition" to achieve visa-free access to Europe for Georgian citizens before the end of his presidential term in 2013.
"It is real," he told an audience at an opening ceremony of European House in Tbilisi on April 7.
”We are moving towards, at first, having simplified visa regime and then visa-free movement with Europe... and also towards having free trade regime between Georgia and rest of the Europe. It is possible to achieve. It is now already undergoing bureaucratic procedures and we will accomplish these procedures," he said.
Georgia has already negotiated visa facilitation and readmission agreements with EU; signing and entry into force of these agreements are undergoing through EU’s internal decision-making procedures.
President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy said on March 16 that it would be "soon possible" to launch talks with Georgia on Association Agreement, including a deep and comprehensive free trade treaty.
7 Apr. '10 Ex-Premierminister Zurab Nogaideli: ‘Wählfälschung könnte Innenminister Merabishvili sogar das Leben kosten ... Dies ist eine Warnung und ein Versprechen’
Ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli, who leads Movement for Fair Georgia, warned Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili against ballot fraud in May 30 local elections saying it “may cost him his life.”
“Thanks god it is not up to Vano Merabishvili to define a winner in the elections; it is up to the Georgian society,” Nogaideli told journalists after he was asked to comment Merabishvili’s remarks in a newspaper interview saying that the opposition was not popular and would fail to succeed in the upcoming elections.
“If Vano [Merabishvili] has election fraud on his mind it will cost him much, it may even cost him his life,” Nogaideli said.
“This is a warning and a promise,” he added.
“Nobody in Georgia needs to be taught by Saakashvili and Merabishvili – two cowards - how to behave,” Nogaideli said.
Nogaideli’s party Movement for Fair Georgia is in an alliance with Party of People and Conservative Party. The alliance, known as National Council, said it would chose its Tbilisi mayoral candidate on April 9 after a public opinion survey between Conservative Party leader, Zviad Dzidziguri and Koba Davitashvili, leader of Party of People.
7 Apr. '10 EU-Erweiterungskommissar Štefan Füle besucht Georgien
European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, will arrive in Tbilisi on April 7 for a two day visit as part of his first trip to South Caucasus countries.
"Georgia is an important partner country within the European Neighbourhood Policy... This important visit will provide me with one more opportunity to stress the EU commitment to territorial integrity of Georgia," he said in a statement on April 6.
During the visit Füle and Georgia's State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration, Giorgi Baramidze, will sign a memorandum of understanding on allocation of EUR 180.29 million support from EU for the period 2011-2013.
According to EU Delegation to Georgia, the funding will support the strengthening of democratic institutions, focusing also on media freedom, political pluralism, human rights and civil society. It said that "considerable part of these funds" is aimed at continued reforms in the justice system, management of the public finances, as well as export and investment promotion, including through market and regulatory reforms and preparationgs for a future Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with the EU.
7 Apr. '10 Obama dankt Georgien für Truppenentsendung nach Afghanistan
U.S. President Barack Obama called President Saakashvili on April 6 to thank for Georgia's "significant contribution" in the Afghan operation, the White House said.
"The President relayed the strong support of the United States for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They discussed the importance of all sides avoiding provocative actions to build stability in the region," the White House said in a statement.
"The President appreciated President Saakashvili’s continuing commitment to democratic and economic reforms in order to fulfill the promise of the Rose Revolution."
The White House also said that the two presidents also discussed Nuclear Security Summit in Washington planned for April 12-13. President Saakashvili will be among leaders and senior officials from 47 countries participating in the summit.
The Georgian President's administration said that during the phone conversation President Saakashvili thanked the U.S. President for inviting him to take part in the summit.
Georgian President's spokesperson said on March 23 that a bilateral meeting between the Georgian and U.S. presidents was "not ruled out" on a sideline of the summit.
However, as of April 6 President Obama's schedule of bilateral meetings on sideline of the summit does not include the one with President Saakashvili. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs listed planned meetings with leaders from nine countries, including with President Sargsyan of Armenia and President Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan.
The Georgian President's administration said in a statement that during the phone conversation regional security and Georgia's democratic reforms were also discussed.
"The Presidents also spoke about the ongoing reforms in Georgia and the importance of the upcoming local elections. President Saakashvili thanked President Obama for America's continued assistance in helping to build an enduring liberal democracy in Georgia," the Georgian President's administration said.
"Both Presidents reaffirmed that a stable and democratic Georgia was a key to regional peace, cooperation, and progress," it added.
Meanwhile in Tbilisi senior U.S. military officials held talks with the Georgian counterparts on April 6 to discuss details of deployment of Georgian infantry battalion in the province of Helmand alongside with the U.S. marines.
Commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command, Lt. Gen. Richard F. Natonski and Commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces in Europe Brig. Gen. Paul W. Brier met with Georgian Deputy Defense Minister Nodar Kharshiladze and chief of joint staff Devi Chankotadze.
Deployment of 31st infantry battalion next week will mark increase of number of Georgian troops in Afghanistan up to 950, making Georgia the largest per capita contributor to the Afghan operation. Georgia sent 175 soldiers to Afghanistan to serve under the French command last November.
6 Apr. '10 Präsident Saakashvili stellt für den Schulunterricht Plan vor, nach dem Englischunterricht und Computerunterstützung ab der ersten Schulklasse beginnen soll
President Saakashvili said English language classes would become compulsory from the first grade in schools and every first-grade schoolchild would be given XO mini-laptop from next year as part of “linguistic and computer revolution” plan.
Speaking at a televised meeting of government in Kutaisi on April 6, he said the current practice of starting teaching children English language in schools from fifth and sixth grade was “anachronism”.
“It limits opportunities for our future generations,” Saakashvili said. “From next year, English-language classes will be compulsory from the first grade in each and every school in Georgia… It also means that we should train many Georgian English language teachers.”
Saakashvili called on the Georgian television stations to broadly use the practice of broadcasting English-language movies with subtitles and without voiceover translation.
“If you look where English is spoken better, you will find that it is in those countries, where movies are [screened] with subtitles – Holland, Scandinavian countries and others,” he said.
The Education Ministry has launched a project - Teach and Learn with Georgia – with an aim to recruit 1,000 native English speakers who will be willing to teach Georgian schoolchildren English language for the years of 2010-2011.
Holding a XO laptop in his hand, Saakashvili said that from September of next year every first-grade schoolchild would be given these mini-laptops, instead of textbooks, which are distributed among schoolchildren as part of a project called “President’s Gift”.
“We should plan a computer and linguistic revolution,” he said.
“That is our next big challenge in terms of Georgia’s modernization. You may have thought that [May 30 local] elections were your next big challenge, but it may not be so,” Saakashvili added. “Elections will pass; there will be results – all these are temporary; the most important is what we will create for future generations.”
XO laptops, developed by a U.S. non-profit organization, One Laptop Per Child, will also be offered to schoolchildren living in Georgia’s breakaway regions, Saakashvili said.
“As part of our new strategy we are offering Russian occupying force… that we will bring these [mini-laptops] on the condition that there will be international control so that to prevent them [referring to Russian forces] from throwing them [mini-laptops] at each other or throwing them back to us and we are ready to distribute laptops among children, who remain in occupied territory,” Saakashvili said.
“We are offering them not only healthcare or people-to-people contacts, but also very concrete material values; of course we are talking about millions and we are ready to spend these millions for children, whom we consider part of our future. It is not their fault what is going on there,” he added.
6 Apr. '10 Zentrale Wahlkommission reduziert die Zahl der videoüberwachten Wahlbüros; diese sollen nur in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi sein
Central Election Commission (CEC) has decided to reduce number of those polling stations by 200 where video cameras will be installed to record election day procedures during May 30 local elections.
CEC decided on April 3 that video cameras will be installed only at the polling stations in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi.
CEC cited a recommendation by Council of Europe’s (CoE) advisory body for legal and constitutional issues, Venice Commission and OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
In their joint draft opinion released last October on Georgia’s election code, ODIHR and Venice Commission said that they “do not recommend use of video cameras in polling stations due to possible intimidation of voters, even if video cameras are not directed at polling booths.”
As in the 2006 local elections, some thousand polling stations were equipped with two video cameras each during the January 5, 2008 presidential election. The same practice was used during the May 21 parliamentary elections in 2008. There have been cases, however, when the opposition was complaining about limited access to the recorded footage and absence of cameras in those polling stations where most irregularities were occurring.
Last February the New Rights and Republican opposition parties presented their views on election code amendments, which were met mainly positively by other opposition groups and which, among other issues, were also calling for installing cameras at all polling stations with full and unrestricted access to video recordings.
In its final report on January 5, 2008 presidential elections, OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission said that at 63 polling stations, visited by the mission observers, “the placement of the video cameras was such that it did not ensure the secrecy of the vote.” A similar report, covering May 21, 2008 parliamentary elections, contains no such observation.
According to the law, election observers and other election stake-holders present at a polling station have the right to access polling station footage, but they have to indicate a concrete time for an alleged violation and will only be given access to that particular, 15-minute portion of the footage, according to the amendments.
In its final report on May 21 parliamentary elections, OSCE/ODIHR recommended CEC to provide “unrestricted access to official footage at the request of any complainants or public bodies” should video surveillance cameras continue to be used.
6 Apr. '10 Erstes Treffen des interparlamentarischen Georgien-NATO-Rates
An inaugural meeting of Georgia-NATO Inter-Parliamentary Council was opened in Tbilisi on April 6
The Council was established to coordinate all NATO Parliamentary Assembly activities related to Georgia.
Members from NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s committee on civil dimension of security, in particular from democracy, good governance and the rule of law subcommittee, are visiting Georgia to take part in the Council meeting.
The delegation plans to meet with Georgian State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze, State Minister for Reintegration Temur Iakobashvili and PM Nika Gilauri. Meeting with opposition representatives is also planned.
The delegation will also visit EU Monitoring Mission headquarters and its field office in Gori.
3 Apr. '10 36 Parteien beantragten die Teilnahme an den lokalen Wahlen
36 parties have submitted applications to the Central Election Commission (CEC) for registration to run in the May 30 local elections.
Labor Party, National Forum and Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement – United Georgia are not among them. These parties have said that they would not run in the local elections.
The deadline for submitting applications expired at 6pm on April 3.
Those parties, which have not run in the 2008 parliamentary elections, or have no representative in the Parliament will have to submit list of 30,000 signatures of supporters for registration before April 10; CEC has a deadline before April 13 to register or to refuse in registration.
Then the registered parties will have a deadline before April 17 to establish an election bloc and ran in the election on the joint ticket. For example, New Rights Party, Republican Party and Our Georgia-Free Democrats, which are united in the Alliance for Georgia will likely set up an election bloc. The same is expected in respect of National Council, which among others also includes ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia, Conservative Party and Party of People. All of them have applied for registration to the CEC.
3 Apr. '10 Liste der Parteien, die an den lokalen Wahlen teilnehmen wollen
   1. Democratic Party of Georgia
   2. Future Georgia
   3. National-Democratic Party
   4. The Merab Kostava Society
   5. Political Movement - Solidarity
   6. Political Union – Patriot Order Samshoblo
   7. Political Organization - Mamuli
   8. Greens Party of Georgia
   9. Our Georgia–Free Democrats
  10. Republican Party;
  11. Political Union - New Rights Party;
  12. Political Union - Public Democrats;
  13. Political Party – Our Country (Chveni Kvekana);
  14. Christian-Democratic Movement;
  15. Political Union of Citizens  - Christian-Democratic Peoples’ Party;
  16. Political Union of Citizens - Labour Council of Georgia;
  17. Georgian Troupe (Kartuli Dasi);
  18. Political Union of Citizens -  Public Alliance of Whole Georgia;
  19. Political Union 'On Our Own';
  20. Movement – Justice for Georgia;
  21. Party – Neutral Georgia;
  22. Political Union of Citizens – Georgian Laborers Rights Defence Party;
  23. The National Party of Radical Democrats of Georgia;
  24. Conservative Party of Georgia;
  25. Political Union - Tavisupleba;
  26. Georgia's Way;
  27. Party of Peoples’ Party;
  28. Political Union – United National Movement;
  29. Party of Future;
  30. Political Movement of Law enforcement Veterans, Patriots and Pensioners – Mamulishvili;
  31. Industry Will Save Georgia (Industrialists);
  32. Union of Georgian Sportsmen;
  33. Conservative (Monarchist) Party of Georgia;
  34. Movement for United Georgia;
  35. Political Union of Georgian Lawyers;
  36. People's Party
3 Apr. '10 Teile der Opposition in Gesprächen zu ‘Spielregeln’ nach dem Vorschlag von Sozar Subari von der Allianz für Georgien
Sozar Subari und Levan Gachechiladze sprachen u.a. mit Gogi Topadze, Zurab Nogaideli, Kakha Kukava und Koba Davitashvili.
Sozar Subari of Alliance for Georgia and Levan Gachechiladze, founder of public movement Defend Georgia, launched on Saturday consultations with some of the opposition groups on proposals laid out by Subari in his newspaper article few days ago.
After meeting with Industrialist Party leadership and its mayoral candidate Gogi Topadze, Subari and Gachechiladze are meeting with leaders from a collation known as National Council, including ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli, Kakha Kukava of Conservative Party and Koba Davitashvili of Party of People.
Sozar Subari said that it was “an initial stage of consultations.” Gachechiladze said that at this stage “there are no talks on personalities”.
“We should at first agree on rules of the game,” said Gachechiladze, who announced earlier that he would support a mayoral candidate, which will be backed by broader opposition coalition.
2 Apr. '10 Gespräche mit Oppositionsgruppen zum Vorschlag von Sozar Subari von der Allianz für Georgien geplant
Sozar Subari, co-chair of Alliance for Georgia, said he would start consultations with number of opposition parties running in the elections to discuss his proposals laid out in a newspaper article on March 31.
Subari, who is Alliance for Georgia’s candidate for Tbilisi City Council chairmanship, offered that he would withdraw from the race and support other candidate from other opposition group in exchange if others support Alliance for Georgia’s leader Irakli Alasania’s mayoral candidacy.
Levan Gachechiladze, a founder of public movement Defend Georgia, welcomed Subari’s move as “a step towards broad agreement” within the opposition. He, however, said would not run for City Council chairmanship.
National Council – a grouping of several opposition parties, including ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia; Conservative Party and Party of People – said it was ready to consider Subari’s proposal. But it also said that that it was still in favor of selecting a single candidate through public opinion survey, instead of unconditionally supporting Alasania.
Leader of Industrialists Party, Gogi Topadze, who is also a mayoral candidate, said he would also engage in the consultations. Topadze said an agreement on a single candidate was hardly possible, “but if such an agreement is achieved, we are ready to join it.”
In late February Alasania himself tried to achieve an agreement on a single mayoral candidate with other opposition groups, but his attempt failed to bring any result, even triggering a brief internal dispute within the Alliance for Georgia.
Subari’s move to some extent is similar to the previous attempt by Alasania. Difference, however, is that if previously the proposal involved talks on defining terms for selecting a single mayoral candidate, now Alliance for Georgia says others should support Alasania and in exchange it will support other opposition representative for the City Council chairmanship. The proposal also involves agreement on single candidates for majoritarian contest in Tbilisi’s 25 single-mandate constituencies. Remaining 25 seats in the Tbilisi City Council are contested based on party-list, proportional system.
Another difference seems to be a softening stance on ex-PM Zurab Nogaideli’s role. While previously Subari and two other members of the Alliance for Georgia – Republican Party and New Rights - were proposing talks based on formula “all minus one” – referring to Nogaideli – now they say that such formula was not relevant to the current context, because Nogaideli himself was running neither in mayoral race, nor in majoritarian contest for City Council membership. They also say that the proposal is not about setting up of united electoral bloc, but about reaching an agreement on “rules of the game” so that not to split overall opposition vote.
Nogaideli said that any ultimatum, similar to the one, which was set previously by the Alliance for Georgia was unacceptable.
“Everyone knows there is no victory without us,” he said.
Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), a leading party in the parliamentary minority group, said Subari proposal was “counterproductive” and “a waste of time” and added that it was now occupied with its election campaign.
CDM has nominated ex-chief of state oil corporation, Giorgi Chanturia, as Tbilisi mayoral candidate and ex-TV anchor, Inga Grigolia, as a candidate for Tbilisi City Council chair’s position.
“I think we have a great chance for a victory in Tbilisi,” Grigolia said on April 2.
1 Apr. '10 Tbilisi protestiert gegen Moskau's Pläne für einen Hubschrauberlandeplatz in Südossetien
Georgia condemned Moscow's plans to build two heliports in breakaway South Ossetia and called on the international community "to take decisive measures" to stop further militarization of the region.
Russian governmental website for state procurements posted on March 12 an announcement for a tender to build heliports - one in Java district and another one in Akhalgori district of the breakaway region.
"Georgia expresses its strict protest over Russia's destructive actions and calls on the international community to take decisive measures in order to prevent militarization of Georgia's occupied regions, infringement of Georgia's sovereignty as well as occupation and annexation of its integral territories," the Georgian Foreign Ministry said on March 31.
"The creation and development of military infrastructure on the occupied territories represents a flagrant violation of the fundamental norms and principles of International Law and the 6-point Ceasefire Agreement," it said.
The Foreign Ministry also said that "uncontrolled flight of military helicopters in Georgian airspace poses a threat to the security of international civil aviation."
1 Apr. '10 Ombudsmann Giorgi Tugushi macht seinen Menschenrechtsbericht 2009 bekannt
The Public Defender’s Office submitted this week a report on human rights record in Georgia covering second half of 2009.
A significant part of the 328-page report addresses situation in the prison system and detention centers, saying that penitentiary system “still remains one of the problematic issues.”
The report says that “extremely overcrowded” cells represents one of the major problems. The report lists eight facilities where number of inmates exceeds its capacity limit.
”Overcrowding in several facilities causes unbearable conditions, which in some cases can be described as inhuman treatment of inmates,” the report reads.
The Public Defender’s Office says that although ongoing process of building new facilities will help to ease the problem, it is not a solution. The report instead calls on the authorities to drop the policy of “zero tolerance” towards any type of offense.
The report notes increase of complaints submitted by inmates to the Public Defender’s Office about their mistreatment by prison officials.
In respect of the judiciary system, the report says that the Public Defender’s Office has analyzed number of criminal and administrative cases heard by the courts.
“Lack of proper justification of interim rulings and final verdicts represent one of the most problematic issues in the judiciary system,” the report reads.
It says that during the analyzing of criminal cases heard in the courts, this problem has been revealed for multiple times “indicating that insufficient justification of decisions is a systematic problem.”
According to the report it “often” happens, when a judge declines motions submitted by defendant’s attorney lawyer, simply citing that motions are unjustified, but a judge does not give a detailed explanation.
In respect of police, the report says that there have been cases of mistreatment of detainees by the police in the reporting period. The Public Defender’s previous report, covering the first half of 2009, noted increase of such cases, as well as misuse of power by the police in western Georgia.
“The same trend is observed in the second half of 2009 as well,” the report says.
The report says that the Public Defender’s Office is aware of seven cases of physical and verbal assaults on religious minority groups that took place in the reporting period with six of them against Jehovah’s Witnesses and one against evangelical Protestant group.
The report says that no one has been held responsible for this type of assaults in the reporting period.