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The Daily Beat: 26 June

President Salome Zurabishvili vetoed the amendments to the “Electoral Code,” altering the procedure for electing the chairman and members of the central election commission (CEC). President claims that proposed amendments will only increase the one-party grip over the election administration and suggests the election of the chairman of the election administration and its members by 90 votes majority, as in the case of a public defender.

EU, US, and UK sanctions officials are visiting Georgia to discuss sanctions’ implementation and establish a cooperative dialogue with Georgian officials. The sanctions delegation will include EU Sanctions Envoy David O’Sullivan, Head of the Office of Sanctions Coordination at the US State Department, James O’Brien, and Director General, Economics, Science and Technology at the UK Foreign Office Kumar Iyer.

The Inland Revenue Service of Georgia’s Finance Ministry issued a statement declaring full adherence to international sanctions since day one by following the established rules and strictly monitoring all customs clearance transactions. The official announcement was made in response to the TV Pirveli news program, allegedly revealing the resale of household electronic appliances from Europe through Georgia, helping Russia’s war effort.

Brussels correspondent of the Radio Free Europe/Radio, Rikard Jozwiak, suggested quoting unnamed diplomatic sources that Hungary would support the opening of accession negotiations with Ukraine only if other EU member states simultaneously agreed to grant candidate status to Georgia. In a comprehensive analysis of the European Commission’s initial report on Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova last week, Jozwiak said that Georgia lags behind Ukraine, especially Moldova, in fulfilling the EU’s conditions.

Transparency International-Georgia (TI-Georgia) published a report saying that courts take too long to review media cases, ignore the established court practice, and often place the burden of proof on the media. “These trends directly contradict established legal criteria and threaten the previously upheld high standard of freedom of speech and expression,” reads the report findings, pointing to the worrying trends of silencing the opposition media.

A former detective Sergo Subitidze who led the investigation into the death case of Tamar Bachaliashvili, was arrested for giving false testimony.  The investigation ruled the death a suicide, but in an interview with Formula TV on April 29, Shubitidze suggested the evidence that led to that conclusion was falsified. According to the Prosecutor’s Office, Sergo Shubitidze will be charged with obstruction of justice and giving false testimony, while Shubitidze’s lawyer claims that the defendant admits the guilt.

Stiking Chiatura miners and their employer, “Georgian Manganese,” reached an agreement, ending the 19-day protest. With state mediation and trade unions involved, the company committed to resuming the mining operations in Chiatura. In a Facebook post, Georgian Manganese announced that the new agreement addresses all demands, including tying the pay rise to the inflation rate. According to the agreement, a 5% increment will be added to the salaries paid between January 1 and July 1, 2023, with the total increase reaching 12% from July 1 onward.

Two more Georgian fighters were killed in Ukraine, bringing the unofficial death toll of Georgian citizens since the Russian invasion of Ukraine to 36. Reportedly both fighters were engaged in battles around Bakhmut. The Foreign Ministry said the Georgian Embassy in Kyiv is handling repatriation procedures.


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