The Daily Dispatch

The Daily Dispatch – July 1

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OUT OF THE BLOCKS The Parliament passed the amendments to the Election Code we told you about yesterday. GYLA – a respected watchdog – said some steps were made in the right direction, but not enough to curb some of the widespread abuses – such as haggling or intimidating the voters by party activists at the polling stations, information dumps on the night prior to elections, or a penchant for “hidden campaigning” at the public events.

TIGHTLY SPRUNG An election watchdog ISFED released its own report, welcoming the changes to election system that make the vote more proportional, but saying the environment is too polarized. Their particular concern is that the ruling party is ramping up pressure on independent (and opposition0minded) media though use of state apparatus, and that the government might be tempted to use pandemic-related restrictions for their own electoral benefit.

LOOK WHO’S COMING to the Public Broadcaster Board: Georgia’s liberal-minded public has been incensed at the Parliament endorsing Bondo Mdzinarashvili – an anchor at the firebrand nativist TV Obiektivi . He has distinguished himself repeatedly by flippant “whataboutism“: arguing that while 20% of Georgia might be occupied by Russia, the rest is occupied by the U.S. or – alternatively – that Turkey is just as much as an occupier of Georgia’s historical provinces, as Russia is (forgetting to mention, of course, that those lands were handed over to Turkey by the Soviet Union…). The ruling party’s cynic-in-chief Mr. Kobakhidze remarked that opposition laments were flimsy since a “member of [European Georgia’s] Komsomol” Zaza Abashidze made it to the board too… Mr. Abashidze runs a Squander Detector website, exposing official graft.

THE TRUTH WILL OUT Asida Shakryl, charged with protecting the human rights in Abkhazia said ethnic Georgian’s in Gali district are discriminated against when applying for passports, and that restrictions imposed on their travel to Georgia severely affect their livelihoods. An important gesture of honesty, and perhaps a signal of goodwill?

QUOTAS? NO, THANKS! Our grapevine has it that at least some politically active Georgian women are up in arms against the system of quotas that the ruling party is considering to improve gender balance in the Parliament. They consider a quota system artificial, offensive, and demeaning for those women who made it without “artificial support”. Murmurs of a Constitutional Court appeal were heard if the draft makes it into law. Other feminist groups have been consistently advocating for affirmative action.

That’s full lid for today?


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