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The Daily Beat: 7 February

Natural disasters struck the Imereti and Adjara regions of Georgia, claiming the lives of at least eight people. One citizen reported dead was hit by an avalanche, and a landslide killed another in the Adjara region. Also, the bodies of six people were found in the landslide-affected area in the Imereti region, while three others remain missing, according to the interior ministry. Emergency response teams of the interior ministry continue search and rescue operations.

President Salome Zurabishvili, Speaker of the Parliament Shalva Papuashvili, and Tbilisi City Mayor Kakha Kaladze expressed regrets over the loss of lives in western Georgia, expressing condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims.

Speaking at a joint meeting of the United National Movement and other opposition political parties in parliament, PM candidate Irakli Kobakhidze stressed the importance of “political peace,” adding that harsh rhetoric is not in the government’s interests. According to Irakli Kobakhidze, the country’s political system needs more consensus and less radicalism.

The president’s “Unity Platform for Europe” seems to take off as representatives of the opposition parties start arriving at the president’s palace for talks on joining efforts to advance the country on the EU path. The leaders of opposition parties – Lelo for Georgia,” “Girchi-More Freedom,” and Droa” were the first to meet President Zurabishvili. Former Prime Minister Giori Gakharia’s “For Georgia” party refused to participate in the “Unity Platform for Europe,” saying the purpose of the platform was “unclear” and could be used by the United National Movement for pardoning the ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Parliamentary committees continued discussions around the new government program, focusing on foreign policy affairs, and held joint hearings of the minister candidate for foreign affairs, Ilia Darchiashvili. At the joint parliamentary hearing, Ilia Darchiashvili expressed the government’s commitment to continuing the country’s progress toward EU membership, saying the plans are to start accession negotiations this year. The candidate for foreign minister also spoke of the readiness to actively participate in the EU’s reform process.

Former Prime Minister and leader of the “For Georgia” party, Giorgi Gakharia, launched a new program on his YouTube channel, “Gakharia’s Week,” hosted by journalist Teona Gegelia. According to Teona Gegelia, the program will be aired at the end of each week, and the ex-prime minister, answering questions, will review the main political events of the week.

After five days of administrative detention, civic activist Nata Peradze was released from the detention facility. “I am not feeling safe,” said Peradze upon her release.  The Tbilisi City Court sentenced Nata Peradze to five days of administrative detention for defacing the St. Matrona icon, also depicting Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in Tbilisi’s main cathedral. She was detained by police at her apartment on 2nd February in Tbilisi.  


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