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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Monday, September 2
Ex-Head of CEC Joins Presidential Race

Online media reads that the Former chairman of Central Election Commission (CEC) Zurab Kharatishvili has added his name to a long list of would-be presidential candidates, who have applied to CEC for registration for the October 27 election.

Kharatishviliís nomination was filed to CEC by a small party Ė Georgian European Democrats, led by former MP Paata Davitaia; the nomination is also supported by the National-Democratic Party.

More than 40 people have applied for registration as presidential candidates; at least 33 of them are little known politically or virtually unknown persons to the public. Three of them have already been denied by the CEC.

So far the CEC has registered two persons as candidates, including leader of the Labor Party Shalva Natelashvili.

Among other prominent figures who have filed for registration as candidates are: Giorgi Margvelashvili of Georgian Dream; Davit Bakradze of the UNM; Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker; leader of Christian-Democratic Movement Giorgi Targamadze; MP Koba Davitashvili, who quit the Georgian Dream ruling coalition earlier this month; former Labor Party member Nestan Kirtadze and leader of Traditionalist Party Akaki Asatiani.

September 7 is the deadline for political parties and initiative groups to name their presidential candidates and to file an application to the CEC to seek permission for launch of a collection of signatures of supporters, required for being registered as a presidential candidate. September 17 is the deadline for would-be presidential candidates to submit CEC signatures of at least 26,530 citizens (0.75% of number of voters). September 27 is the deadline for CEC to register presidential candidates.

Georgia lacks ambassador to 7 countries, Saakashvili hasnít signed

Democracy and Freedom Watch state that Georgia is without an ambassador in seven countries because the president has failed to sign their confirmation.

Foreign Affairs Minister Maya Panjikidze said on Saturday that President Mikheil Saakashvili still hasnít signed the document to confirm seven ambassadors, and the process has now been delayed for nine months. Countries in which Georgia lacks ambassadors are Germany, UK, China, Bulgaria, Iran, Uzbekistan and Estonia.

ďThis interrupts the functioning of our diplomatic representatives in those countries,Ē she said.

After the change of government in October 2012, there was a call for replacing ambassadors, some of whom were seen as more ambassadors for the Saakashvili regime than for the country as such. In the first months after Prime Minister Ivanishviliís Georgian Dream coalition came into government, Georgia in effect had two foreign policies; as Saakashvili and Ivanishvili toured Europe in parallel.

Some ambassadors resigned after the end of their term, and parliament had to approve their replacements. But for the appointments to come into force, each decision had to be signed by the president. After nine months, Saakashvili still hasnít signed nine of the documents to appoint new ambassadors.

18 ambassadors needed replacement in total. The president has signed the approval document for nine of them.