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The Daily Dispatch – June 5


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.

UNITED AGAIN? The United Opposition, a motley crew of political outfits, is trying to make the best of the electoral conundrum they are faced with. There’s still a slim chance that parties will put aside their differences and join their forces – by refraining from fielding candidates against each other in 30 majoritarian districts. The pendulum has swung as Nika Melia, leader of the United National Movement – which, polls show, enjoys highest popular support among peers – said his party was willing to “relinquish six majoritarian districts out of eight” in the capital, Tbilisi, suggesting that UNM candidates will run for office only in suburban Gldani and Samgori. He was cheered by opposition bigwigs of all stripes. “Cooperation is essential so that votes cast for opposition are not split and opposition candidates carry the day in the first round [of voting],” noted Gigi Ugulava of the European Georgia party. Even LELO, which dug its heels recently, saying it was to stand on its own, is now pondering a compromise. Can the deal be hammered out when opposition leaders meet again? To be continued…

COVID DRUG GETS NEW LEASE OF LIFE In their successful first-round combat against Covid-19, Georgian docs frequently turned to Hydroxychloroquine (aka plaquenil), hitherto known as an antimalarial remedy. But the drug came under scrutiny after a study published in Lancet, a reputed medical journal, argued that Covid-infected patients treated with it were more prone to develop heart troubles. WHO promptly removed plaquenil from the list of drugs to be tested within the frame of Solidarity, a series of trials carried out worldwide – including in Georgia. Toeing the UN agency’s line, Georgian health authorities suspended its use for treating mild and severe patients on May 28. Things have taken a different turn since then. The article was retracted from the journal over data concerns, and the WHO OK-ed plaquenil again. Georgian docs can once more bank on its medicinal powers.  

SPEND YOUR SUMMER IN GEORGIA The much-trumpeted catchphrase would cast a spell on foreign travelers who were heading in droves for country’s numerous tourism hot-spots. Then the virus struck. Now Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia seeks to tailor the slogan for an audience it was not originally meant for – Georgians. While visiting Kutaisi, a would-be hub of budget travelers, Gakharia advertised ignored virtues of domestic tourism, which he said boosts local demand and encourages more spending. “We must teach Georgians how to vacation in Georgia,” exhorted the PM. Music to the ears of local hoteliers and restaurateurs struggling to keep their businesses afloat. Still, many argue, slashing their exorbitant prices would have made a better selling point…

That’s it for this week. Have a nice weekend (wherever you are) and see you on Monday!


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