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Watchdogs: Signs of “Unprecedented Voter-bribing”

Georgia’s three respected watchdogs, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), Transparency International-Georgia  (TI) and the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) have issued a stern statement, saying today’s announcement of the debt write-off scheme by the Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, was in all likelihood, “an unprecedented case of …

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ISFED Reports ‘Unprecedented Forms’ of Voter Intimidation

The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), a Tbilisi-based election watchdog, claims voter intimidation ahead of the presidential runoff has taken “wide-spread,” and “unprecedented” forms. In a statement released on November 19, ISFED said both private and public sector employees have been subject to undue pressure. According to …

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UPDATED: Government Announces Deal to Write off Bad Debts

The Government said it has negotiated a deal with banks and non-banking lenders which would lead to writing off of the small debts of more than 600,000 individuals and their removal from the lenders’ “blacklists”, Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze announced at a press briefing on November 19. PM Bakhtadze explained …

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Georgia’s Foreign Trade in Jan-Oct 2018

Georgia’s foreign trade turnover in the first ten months of 2018 increased by 20.5%, compared to the same period of last year, reaching USD 10.3 billion, according to the preliminary figures released by the State Statistics Office (Geostat) on November 19. Exports from Georgia increased by 24.5% year-on-year to USD 2.8 billion …

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Foreign Experts: Lugar Lab is transparent in its activities

The peer review exercise carried out at the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research, a Tbilisi-based biological research facility that has become a target of Russia’s recent bio-warfare allegations, concluded that the lab demonstrates “significant transparency about its activities.” The inspection was conducted on November 14-15 by a group of 22 …

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Audit Office: Zurabishvili Secures 81% of Donations in 1H November

The State Audit Office, an independent body in charge of the political finance monitoring, reported that in the period from October 29 through November 16, Salome Zurabishvili and Grigol Vashadze have raised respectively 81% (GEL 1,743,000) and 19% (GEL 398,649) of the total GEL 2,141,649 in donations. For the first round, …

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Presidential Runoff: Key Dates and Procedures

On November 28, Georgian citizens will head to polls to elect their fifth president for a six-year term, replacing incumbent President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who has been in office since October, 2013. The Central Election Commission (CEC) published the schedule of electoral activities on November 14, after approving the final vote tally …

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Women Rights Activists: “Georgian Dream” Campaign Tactic Discriminatory

Eight local women rights activist groups, including Georgian Women’s Movement, Sapari and Equality Movement spoke about the “signs of gender discrimination” in the presidential campaign and called upon the contestants, among them the ruling party, to demonstrate gender sensitivity. In a statement released on November 16, local CSOs said that …

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Justice Minister under Fire over Remarks on ICC Prosecution

Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani’s comments that individual Georgian servicemen might be held accountable before the International Criminal Court drew fierce criticism from the opposition. Tsulukiani spoke on the ongoing ICC prosecution on November 14, in her interview with Imedi TV. The minister was responding to the earlier allegations by Nika …

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Vashadze Continues Touring Regions, Outlines Priorities

Grigol Vashadze, presidential candidate of the United Opposition, a coalition led by the United National Movement, is touring the regions of Georgia, meeting with activists and supporters and presenting his policy priorities. The opposition candidate visited Batumi and Gori, after launching his runoff campaign in Kutaisi on November 4. Vashadze …

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CoE Issues Report on Conflict in Georgia

During the 1329th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies on November 14, the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland presented his 18th consolidated report on the conflict in Georgia, which covers the period from April 18 – September 2018 and takes stock of the security and human rights …

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CEC Approves First Round Vote Tally

The Central Election Commission (CEC) approved on November 14 the final vote tally of the first round of presidential elections. According to the CEC protocol, 1,647,878 voters turned out at polling stations on October 28, representing 46.83% of registered voters. 53,847 ballots were annulled, a much higher figure than in the …

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Parliament Discusses Revised Draft of 2019 State Budget

The Parliament of Georgia discussed on November 13-14 the revised draft of the 2019 state budget, submitted by the government following the latter’s consideration of the legislature’s remarks drawn from the budget-related committee hearings. Budgetary revenues and expenditures in the 2019 state budget are set at GEL 10.4 billion and at GEL 9.6 billion, respectively. …

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Georgian Foreign Minister Visits Denmark, Ends Scandinavian Tour

Georgian Foreign Minister Davit Zalkaliani visited Denmark on November 14-15 as part of his diplomatic tour to Scandinavian countries. Yesterday, he met with his Danish counterpart Anders Samuelsen, discussing “exemplary relations” between the countries. According to the Georgian Foreign Ministry, Samuelsen and Zalkaliani spoke about Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations, its role in NATO missions and …

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European Parliament Adopts Resolution on EU-Georgia Association Agreement

With 528 votes in favor, 97 against and 34 abstentions, the European Parliament adopted on November 14 a resolution on implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement. The resolution is based on the first implementation report produced by MEP Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, Latvia), which was debated at the plenary sitting yesterday. In the resolution, the European Parliament “warmly …

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Presidential Runnoff Slated for November 28

The second round of Georgia’s presidential election will be held on Wednesday, November 28, the Central Election Commission (CEC) announced on November 14. The decision was adopted with ten votes at the CEC sitting today. According to the election administration, a total of 3,705 polling stations will be opened for the …

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MEPs Assess Implementation of EU-Georgia Association Agreement

The European Parliament assessed at its plenary sitting on November 13 implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement (AA) based on the report produced by MEP Andrejs Mamikins (S&D, Latvia). In his opening remark yesterday, MEP Mamikins said that the country “has undertaken substantial reforms for the successful implementation of the Association Agreement,” and that the …

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Army Chief Weighs in on Former Servicemen’s Campaign against Zurabishvili

Chief of the General Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces, Major General Vladimer Chachibaia, weighed in on former military servicemen’s social media campaign against the ruling party-endorsed presidential candidate Salome Zurabishvili. In a statement issued on November 13, Chachibaia stressed “any attempts to entangle” the army in political processes are “dangerous” and “go …

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Opposition Coalition Accuses CEC of Delaying Runoff Date Announcement

The opposition coalition led by the United National Movement claims the Central Election Commission (CEC) is delaying to schedule the date of the second round of presidential polls. Giorgi Vashadze of the New Georgia party, who manages the presidential campaign of opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze, said at a press briefing …

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