The Daily Dispatch – 2 June


The Daily Dispatch is our editorial take on the past day’s news. You can subscribe here to get it in your mailbox. Click to write to us! We’d love to hear your ideas and opinions. Giorgi Tskhakaia has been scanning the news for you.

Borrow Now, Pay Later Georgian Finance Ministry has sold government bonds worth GEL 120 million (that’s USD 38.7 million) – a move likely aimed at filling the revenue gaps and at bankrolling future recovery. Many question whether Georgia could be as successful in weathering the economic fallout as it was in containing the initial wave of Covid-19. Official figures released today point to choppy waters ahead – economy is set to shrink by 4% in 2020 y/o/y, inflation will top the target rate by 1.7 percentage points, and public debt will hit 58 % of GDP (only two percentage points short of the current debt ceiling). The cash-strapped Treasury is on a quest for a silver bullet…or a golden nugget… You get the drift.

Divided we fall…  The United Opposition – which encompasses most of Georgia’s electorally viable political outfits (and more) is in a sorry state. First fissures appeared yesterday on social media – which in Georgia usually means things have taken a sour turn in real life. LELO, a political upstart with well-lined coffers, will field its own candidates in each of 30 majoritarian districts. Even though LELO never committed to uniting the majoritarian lists, there were hopes it might one day. Things took turn to the worse today as the European Georgia MP Giga Bokeria asserted next PM must be a member of his party, while Giorgi Vashadze (of New Georgia, not to mix with Grigol Vashadze, former presidential candidate) got his purported candidacy pooh-poohed by the United National Movement, heavyweight of the opposition flank. Enter Georgian Dream’s Irakli Kobakhidze (a regular to Daily Dispatch from day one) who smirked he could not care less about opposition’s inner bickering, since his party is going to carry the day anyway. For once, Mr. Kobakhidze’s self-assurance seems well-warranted.

Costs of indecent facial exposure climb The ruling party MPs mull imposing fines for not wearing face masks where it is mandatory to do so – in public transport, stores, and most of indoor public spaces. Legal Affairs Committee Chair Anri Okhanashvili sees the forthcoming crackdown on offenders as “fully justified”, since – in his mind – only punitive measures will help enforce the law to the letter. Georgians found in contempt of self-isolation/quarantine rules may already face house arrest up to 2 years, or up to 3 years in jail – that’s owing to recent changes to Law on Public Health.  Opposition bemoans the costs – MP Roman Gotsiridze of UNM said protective gear is prohibitively expensive and instead of hiking fines, the government must write off already-issued penalties to help cash-strapped citizens.

Nevermore! Edgar Allan Poe’s spirit was duly assuaged today in Tbilisi when one wayward crow, an otherwise tranquil, if sartorially menacing, avian, attacked and slightly injured five people on Kostava street in central Tbilisi. An investigation was launched into an alleged aerial assault and all species of Corvidae were promptly quarantined. It may well be that poor animal was protecting its newborn offspring. Or, alternatively, 5G is to blame.

That’s full lid for today!


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