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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 29
Runoff Parliamentary Vote in Breakaway Abkhazia

At least 30 seats in breakaway Abkhazia’s 35-member Parliament will go to independent candidates - those nominated by “initiative groups” and not by political parties, as a result of two rounds of elections held on March 12 and March 26, local media sources reported on Monday.

More than half of the seats in Abkhazia’s 35-member National Assembly went into a second round of voting on March 26.

Repeat elections will be held in one single-mandate constituency in Gudauta on May 14.

Only eight out of 28 incumbent lawmakers running in the elections managed to retain their parliamentary seats.

There are 31 ethnic Abkhaz and 3 ethnic Armenians among the elected lawmakers. Only one woman managed to secure victory in elections.

Out of 22 seats contested in the second round, only one party managed to win seats: the pro-governmental Forum for the National Unity of Abkhazia (FNUA) will have three members in the legislative body. One candidate of the opposition Ainar party won a parliamentary seat in the first round.

Total of 137 candidates were running for seats in the National Assembly, including eight women and 28 incumbent lawmakers. Only 24 of them were nominated by political parties and others were nominated by initiative groups.

Abkhaz lawmakers are elected for a five-year term through a majoritarian system in single-mandate constituencies.

There were about 131,523 voters eligible to cast ballot in the election, according to the region’s election administration. The figure is less than it was in 2011 presidential and 2012 parliamentary elections as thousands of ethnic Georgians, residing in Gali district, were removed from the voters list.

According to the breakaway region’s 1999 constitution, Abkhazia is a presidential republic; its 35-member parliament can initiate legislation and submit it to the president for approval, and the executive can submit his own legislation. Parliamentary approval requires 18 votes.

Elections in the region are denounced as illegitimate by Tbilisi and the international community, except of Russia and three other countries (Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru), which have recognized the region as an independent state. (

39th round of the Geneva International Discussions will be held on 28 and 29 March

The participants from Georgia will raise the issue of Russia’s recent provocative actions in Georgia’s occupied territories with focus on the illegitimacy of holding a referendum on renaming the Tskhinvali region as the Republic of South Ossetia, as well as on the integration of local military groupings with the Russian army and on the continuation of the militarization in both regions, Georgia’s Foreign Ministry reports.

“The grave consequences of the closure of the so-called checkpoints along the occupation line in Abkhazia and the safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons to the places of their origin.

“The Geneva International Discussions provides the only format for resolving the security and humanitarian problems in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, as well as across the occupation line, in full compliance with the Ceasefire Agreement of 12 August 2008. Russia’s non-use of force pledge and the creation of international security mechanisms on the ground are essential prerequisites for the successful peace process.

“The Georgian side expresses the hope that the Russian Federation will approach responsibly to the process of negotiations and will participate in both working groups.

“For its part, the Georgian delegation reaffirms its readiness for constructive cooperation,” the ministry says. (IPN)

Georgian author’s book earns recognition at Leipzig Book Fair

Georgian author Naira Gelashvili and her book “I Am The One” were at the center of attention at the Leipzig Book Fair in Germany. The renowned Georgian writer was invited as the main and honorable guest at the festival. It is noteworthy that this year, for the first time, a contemporary Georgian author was hosted by a prestigious literary platform “Blue Sofa” (Das Blaue Sofa) within the framework of which, famous writers introduce their books and discuss them in front of the public. Naira Gelashvili presented her successful book and spoke to the public. Her book was translated into German by a famous printing house, Verbrecher Verlag Jorg Sundermeier, in 2016. (