EMPOWERED The ruling party pushed through the amendments to the Law on Public Health that would allow it to introduce emergency measures without having to seek the parliamentary approval or to declare the state of emergency until the end of 2020. The opposition says the measure harms the checks and balances. The ruling party claims these emergency powers are necessary to act quickly in case the second wave of Covid-19 hits.
PLEASE, HOLD THE LINE Major telecommunication companies are up in arms against the draft law being rammed through the parliament that would allow the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC) to take over management of the companies. The companies said they were not consulted, and neither were the experts in the field. They have also listed several reasons for why they think the proposal contradicts the Constitution.
SWEET SURRENDER Tskhinvali’s boss Anatoly Bibilov said his people can’t wait to be annexed into Russia. He warmly welcomed the fringe Russian party’s proposal to hold a referendum to this effect within the Russian Federation. No surprise there: after all, Bibilov is an officer of the Russian airborne troops, which makes President Putin his commander.
VOLUNTEERING The government submitted its second voluntary national review to the UN, spelling out its strategy to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The report makes an interesting – if lengthy – read, with fairly self-critical undertones. In summary, the government admits past economic growth had not brought prosperity, and pledges to invest in social programs and education to redress gaping inequalities.
FIRM BUT MEASURED The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee adopted its resolution on Georgia’s fulfillment of the association pledge. The most incendiary amendments – of which there were 165 in total – did not make it into the final text. Yet, having fired the warning shots, the MEPs reminded the government, that “enhanced cooperation and EU assistance (..) are conditional on continued reform progress on, in particular, democracy and rule of law, including checks and balances in the institutions, independence of the judiciary and electoral reform.”
SPILLING THE BEANS Russia’s ex-head of FSB Stepashin implied that Russia’s public enemy number one, terrorist mastermind Shamyl Basaev was trained by the Russian military intelligence to combat Georgian troops during the conflict in Abkhazia. This won’t be the first time trained dog bites its master, but for many Georgians, it sounds like a vindication of their old suspicion that Russia tried to channel an explosive charge of the North Caucasus into Georgia in 1990s.
UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE Georgian politicians stay mum, as fighting between Georgia’s neighbors, Armenia and Azerbaijan, intensifies. President Zurabishvili was the only one to make a brief statement calling the neighbors for calm. No activity was visible at the National Security Council either.
We’ll keep an eye on Georgia’s progress. In the meantime, that’s full lid for today!