The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Thursday, January 26
European Georgia Files for EPP Membership

Former UNM members who split from the party and are now using the previously nominal European Georgia party as their new political platform, have applied for observer membership in the conservative European People’s Party (EPP), which has the largest group in the European Parliament.

“David Bakradze, Giga Bokeria, Gigi Ugulava and Gigi Tsereteli came today to present me their new political project, European Georgia,” President of the European People’s Party Joseph Daul wrote in a Facebook post on January 23 following the meeting with former UNM leaders.

“Formal procedures for our new party’s EPP membership have already been launched and we hope to be fully represented [in EPP] as soon as possible,” Gigi Ugulava, who was recently released from prison, stated after the meeting.

Speaking on the matter, Davit Bakradze, the former leader of the UNM’s parliamentary minority group and chairman of the party’s political council, stated that the new political party has “numerous supporters” in the EPP. “It is of the utmost importance for us that our political force continues our partnership with the European People’s Party, so that we become members of this family, and through this manage to offer a better tomorrow for our citizens and our country,” Bakradze added.

If accepted, European Georgia will be the second EPP observer member from Georgia; the UNM was incorporated as an observer member in September, 2008.

Joseph Daul also noted that he was “particularly pleased” to see Gigi Ugulava, whose sentencing Daul has regarded as “politically motivated”. “My thoughts go out to the other political prisoners still detained in Georgia and I call on PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili for their immediate release,” he added.

Kvirikashvili’s office responded to Daul’s appeal with a statement on January 24 saying that the Government “cannot engage in the process of releasing sentenced individuals, only on the grounds of their political belonging” and “cannot contribute to the syndrome of impunity”.

“These are not the values of a Western, democratic and constitutional state. The Georgian Government’s adherence to these values cannot be compromised in response to politically motivated statements,” according to the statement.

“In democratic systems, offenders are held accountable for their crimes, including criminal acts committed with violence, resulting in deaths, torture, dishonour and humiliation,” the statement adds.

Ugulava’s release featured at the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly session as well. In his opening remarks on January 23, Assembly President Pedro Agramunt welcomed the release of Gigi Ugulava, stating that he had “pushed” for the former mayor’s release.

“Upon my election as President, I decided to concentrate specifically on this issue [of political prisoners] ...these initiatives, which I was not alone in undertaking, brought results. In Russia and in Georgia, Ms Savchenko and Mr Ugulava were released and in Azerbaijan a considerable number of civil society activists and journalists were also released and I welcomed this development,” Agramunt said. (

Georgia to spend about 40 million GEL on Municipal Elections 2017

Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) will be given almost 40 million GEL to organise and hold the Municipal Elections 2017.

The sums have already been allocated from the state budget.

A corresponding resolution was published at the Legislative Herald of Georgia on January 20.

The document contains a detailed scheme of the distribution of the money.

The CEC will have 39,011,899 GEL at its disposal, and these sums must be spent on the following:

Voting-related costs – 28,120,049 GEL

Election subjects’ funding – 7,610,000 GEL

TV advertisement for election subjects – 2,242,850 GEL

Training for election staff – 1,030,000 GEL

The Municipal Elections in Georgia are scheduled to be held in autumn 2017. (