The Dispatch

The Daily Dispatch – August 27


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PLAYING GOD Georgia’s Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani has courted controversy by unveiling a ministerial order that would grant paternity rights to heterosexual couples [only] who could prove they were either married or formed a household for at least one full year, in cases of… Well, here’s where the confusion began: the text of the order talked about “extra-corporeal fertilization”, which many laypeople and some doctors interpreted as meaning in vitro fertilization – a medical treatment offered to parents who can not conceive due to medical reasons. Following the outcry, the ministry explained that the order is intended to regulate surrogacy. The association of the reproductive health specialists has confirmed that the medical terminology was used incorrectly in the ministerial act and that the specialists were not consulted. This begs a question about the quality of policymaking: in 2018, OECD/SIGMA, respected think-tank covering the matters of public administration, conducted a baseline study – which gave Georgia zero points for public participation in the policy-making process, saying it falls well behind the standards required by the Association Agreement with the EU. And while the civil service has been frantically trying to catch up – passing the new policy-making rules and training staff – they are useless if the ministers so blatantly flaunt them…

BACK WITH THE BANG? Georgia’s maverick ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili did it again: by promising to come back to Georgia ahead of the elections, he threw a spanner in the election campaign. The ruling party re-posted Saakashvili’s post mocking and daring him to come, his former allies from European Georgia re-posted the re-post saying the showdown between the former and current ruling parties is damaging politics, and Girchi – a libertarian outlet – re-posted the re-post of the re-post… In other words, Misha (as he is called – lovingly by some, and with disdain by others) still is the “influencer” in Georgia’s politics. If he does come back – and detained, as Justice Minister Tsulukiani promised he would be – the campaign would revolve around the kind of Manichean political circus Mr. Saakashvili is so fond of (and good at) – remember his standoff on the roof with the Ukrainian police, or busting of the Polish-Ukrainian border?! Yet again, his phantom presence at the helm of the United National Movement (UNM), still Georgia’s largest opposition party in terms of public support (around 16-20% according to a recent poll), is just as destabilizing at times…

That’s full lid for today!

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