The Daily Dispatch

The Daily Dispatch – July 7

Welcome back! 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 browsing the news for you.

THE NEVER-ENDING EMERGENCY Shortly after the pandemic struck, the Government assumed sweeping new powers to keep the virus at bay. That it would relinquish the special authority following the end of the state of emergency seemed a foregone conclusion. Instead, the Parliament chose to in effect extend the emergency until July 15 by cementing many of those extraordinary powers in ordinary legislation. Now, ruling party lawmakers plan to stretch the timeframe until 2021. Watchdogs, wary of [any] government’s power-grabbing instincts, argue there are no legal grounds to keep the government on steroids and point at risks of curtailing essential rights without proper oversight. With few institutional checks in place and the upcoming election, such a prospect is indeed worrying.

DEEDS, NOT WORDS After spilling much ink on the grim outlook of democratic backsliding in Georgia, the U.S. Congressmen are poised to take tangible action. The Foreign Operations Funding bill, still in the works, foresees democracy, anti-corruption, and the rule of law conditionalities which, if not met, may lead to holding up 15 % of the $ 132 mln aid package earmarked for Georgia in 2021. On the face of it, the Georgian Dream turns a blind eye to the potential downsizing of much-important support, pinning the nuisance on lobbyism by its political foes. Can tightening the purse strings nudge the tycoon-powered Dreamers in the right direction?

IN ITS PRIME the Georgian passport. Since its arrival, the pandemic has upended many conventionalities, often bringing about counter-intuitive outcomes. The latest passport power ranking by Passport Index has shown that Georgians are no longer laggards when it comes to hassle-free travel. The Georgian travel document opens doors for visa-free access to 57 countries, ranking above the once omnipotent U.S. passport. The apparent anomaly can be easily accounted for by factoring in two countries’ respective caseload figures. Sadly, as yesterday’s Dispatch reported, this globetrotting preponderance means little in real life – decorated Georgian passports will be confined to the back of drawers for some time.

That’s full lid for today!


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