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Fraser Institute Rates Georgia Among Top Ten Freest Economies

Georgia ranks seventh among the world’s 162 countries and territories in the annual Economic Freedom of the World report, released on September 25 by the Fraser Institute, a public policy think tank based in Vancouver, Canada. The report measures the degree of economic freedom of nations for 2016 – the latest year …

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Lawyers Concerned over Merabishvili’s Health Condition

Lawyers of Georgia’s former Prime Minister, Vano Merabishvili, who remains in custody since 2013, express concerns over his aggravated health condition and demand proper medical treatment for him, with opposition parties calling for his immediate release from prison. Speaking to Rustavi 2 TV on September 23, Merabishvili’s lawyers said over …

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Presidential Elections 2018: Weekly Digest No.2

On October 28, Georgian citizens will elect their fifth president for a six-year term. With the Election Day approaching, Civil.ge continues its weekly election digest, a news compilation covering the presidential campaigns, election procedures and other pre-election developments, as well as the shortcomings reported during the pre-election period. The second digest …

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Georgian PM Meets World Leaders in New York

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze held several high level meetings in New York on the sidelines of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, which gathered hundreds of state leaders, officials and civil society representatives on September 18-27. At the meeting with UN Secretary General António Guterres on September 24, …

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Speaker Accuses UNM of ‘Provocation, Disinformation’

Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, who has emerged as the highest profile political figure campaigning in the name of the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia, has attacked the opposition during a special news briefing on September 24, saying the United National Movement (UNM) aims to destabilize the election environment ahead of the …

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25 Candidates to Run in Presidential Elections

The Central Election Commission (CEC) announced on September 23 that it has registered 25 candidates for the upcoming presidential elections.  This is the largest number of candidates since Georgia held its first presidential election in 1991; six presidential elections have been held since then and the largest number of candidates were …

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Machalikashvili Family Disrupts Pankisoba Festival Celebrations

The family of Temirlan Machalikashvili, a 19-year-old resident of Georgia’s north-eastern Pankisi gorge, who was shot dead during the State Security Service operation last December, disrupted the Pankisoba festival celebrations today. Pankisoba – an annual festival featuring traditional music, local crafts and cuisine organized by the Akhmeta municipality administration – was to …

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Parliament Approves Teen Murder Case Resolution

Following two days of parliamentary debates, the lawmakers approved on September 21 with 73 votes to one a resolution on the controversial teen murder case in Tbilisi, which left two 16 year-olds – Davit Saralidze and Levan Dadunashvili – stabbed to death. The resolution was drafted by the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party. At …

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GD Set to Move Parliament back to Tbilisi

The ruling majority is developing amendments to the Parliament’s regulations envisaging the relocation of the Parliament building from Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city, back to Tbilisi in January 2019. The Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia cited excess budgetary funds spent on the maintenance of two buildings as well as complicated …

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CSOs Concerned over Suspension of Chief Justice Selection Process

The Coalition for Independent and Transparent Judiciary, which unites around 40 Georgian civil society organizations and rights watchdogs, expressed concern over the suspension of the selection process of new Supreme Court chair, and called on the ruling party and the President “not to hinder the process artificially.” In a statement …

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Deputy SecGen: NATO-Georgia Relations ‘in an Excellent Shape’

In her meetings with Georgian leaders in Tbilisi on September 21, the NATO Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller, reaffirmed the Alliance’s “strong commitment” to Georgia. “We are in excellent shape with regard to our NATO-Georgia relationship,” Gottemoeller said at her joint press conference with Deputy Foreign Minister David Dondua. “We will …

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Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine to Inaugurate Inter-Parliamentary Assembly in October

Tbilisi will host the first inter-parliamentary assembly meeting of Georgian, Moldovan and Ukrainian lawmakers in early October, according to Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze. Kobakhidze made the announcement on September 20 at the Foreign Relations Committee hearing, which approved the Georgian Parliament’s ten-member delegation to the assembly. Addressing the Foreign Relations …

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Georgian PM, U.S. Secretary of State Meet in Washington DC

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, who is on an official visit to the United States on September 16-27, met with the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in Washington DC on September 20, discussing the U.S.-Georgia relations. According to the Georgian government’s press office, the sides spoke on deepening defense and security cooperation, …

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Foreign Ministry Responds to Corruption Allegations

The Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied the allegations of corruption voiced in the recent financial audit report of the State Audit Office. According to the State Audit Office, in August 2017, GEL 737,000 was allocated to the Foreign Ministry from the government’s reserve fund for conducting geological assessment …

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Three Electoral Subjects Secure 94% of Donations

Twelve electoral subjects registered for the October 28 presidential elections fundraised GEL 837,307 (USD 336,267) in monetary and non-monetary donations in the period from August 1 through September 11, according to the State Audit Office, an independent institution in charge of the political finance monitoring. According to the State Audit Office, 94% (GEL 791,157) of total donations was received by …

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Orthodox Patriarch weighs in on Zurabishvili Controversy, Calls for Political Neutrality

Georgian Patriarch Ilia II calls on the Orthodox clergy to refrain from voicing political statements ahead of the upcoming presidential elections. The statement follows a wave of criticism against Salome Zurabishvili, whose presidential candidacy has been endorsed by the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG). “Unfortunately, with elections approaching, some clergy …

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Ban on Wheat Import by Road Postponed for a Year

Georgian Finance Minister Ivane Machavariani announced today that his decision to ban import of wheat by road, has been postponed till October 1, 2019. The announcement came after one of the protesters, Jano Amkoladze, threatened self-immolation, unless Minister Machavariani met him. In his comment following the meeting, Machavariani said the government took …

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Georgia in U.S. State Department Terrorism Report

On September 19, the U.S. Department of State released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, assessing the 2017 global counterterrorism landscape for the U.S. Congress. The document refers to Georgia as “a longstanding member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS,” which “continued its strong engagement with the United States across …

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