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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 29
Turnout in the Georgian presidential election 46 %

Voter turnout in the presidential election in Georgia on October 27 was 46 %, Central Election Commission (CEC) spokesperson, Eka Azarashvili said during the final briefing at the CEC.

According to the CEC, 1,646,350 voters took part in the presidential election, while the total number of voters registered on the voters’ list was 3,537,719.

3,655 polling stations and 34 additional special stations were opened for Sunday’s elections.

There were also 50 polling stations opened outside of Georgia, where 48, 458 Georgian citizens living abroad were able to vote. According to two exit-polls, conducted in Georgia, Margvelashvili gained 66.7 to 68% of the votes, David Bakradze is in second place with 17.1 to 22% of votes.

Ivanishvili: Run off would show Georgian people lacked sense of gratefulness

Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili thanked the Georgian population for their wisdom they showed in the presidential election on October 27.

"We are very strong people and deserve everything. When skeptics asked me about the possibility of a run-off in the presidential election, I felt very much offended that they did not understand the Georgian people. I was sure that no run-off would take place. That would have been a tragedy for me because the run-off would have shown that the Georgian people had lacked a sense of gratefulness," Ivanishvili said.

During the election period, PM Ivanishvili repeatedly noted that if the Georgian Dream coalition’s presidential candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili would have received less than 60% of votes, he would personally feel disappointed. Ivanishivli also advised Margvelashvili against taking part in a run-off if such would take a place.

Lavrov congratulates Georgia on presidential election

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov congratulated Georgian people on its presidential election. Russia's top diplomat told the Russian media that based on the official information, the election was free and fair and nobody is protesting the results.

"We wish the Georgian people that all the organizational issues related to forming the new government are over as soon as possible. We hope that the new government will carry out a friendly, good-neighborly policy towards Russia, considering the current realities in this not so easy region,” Lavrov said.

Akhalaia found guilty in trial over prison riot case

Former defense minister and former head of the prison system, Bacho Akhalaia, was found guilty of inhumane treatment in his trial related to the 2006 prison riot and sentenced to three years and nine months in jail and a 4,000 Lari fine.

The verdict was announced by the Tbilisi City Court judge on October 28.

The charges, which Akhalaia has called politically motivated, involved allegations that he beat-up several inmates when he served as prison system chief in March, 2006, which led to a riot in Tbilisi prison No.5 that claimed the life of seven inmates.

The court also found guilty three other co-defendants, who are now at large, in the same case and sentenced them to three years and nine months.

“We will definitely appeal the verdict,” one of Akhalaia’s lawyers, Malkhaz Velijanashvili, said.

The original verdict against Akhalaia was a five-year prison term, but the sentence was truncated by one-fourth as the charges fall under the amnesty act passed by the parliament in December, 2012.

Tbilisi, EU mull over situation in occupied territory

Georgian Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze met with the head of the European Union Monitoring Mission, Toivo Klaar, last week. During the first get-to-know you meeting, the parties discussed the work done by the mission and the future plans.

"We talked about what can be done better, what can be more intense. We also talked about which projects the mission can implement in addition to its core activity in order to gain greater trust of the local population. I believe, we understood each other well. We have set out a lot of interesting things for the future," Panjikidze told journalists following the meeting.

Klaar also made comments to the media.

"We understand very well the role of the EU Monitoring Mission, and how we can contribute to overcoming the conflict in Georgia. I expect fruitful cooperation with the Foreign Minister. We did not discuss the election issue. We talked about what the mission had done in Georgia and how we must cooperate in the future," Klaar said.

Saakashvili invited journalists at his place after voting

Incumbent President Mikheil Saakashvili made no comment to the media at the polling station on Election Day. Instead, he invited journalists to his place to assess the political situation in the country and spoke about his political plans.

”I think the government will have to work in the state of daily parliamentary control. This is a new form of democracy, when people will be able to control the government via parliament and remind it every day that they have to take care of the people. A very large part of the president’s functions is now only symbolic, but symbols also have importance for Georgia. Therefore, it is not the same how this election ends. From an international point of view, the president has an opportunity to shape a different picture abroad, that is why it is really important who the president is,” Saakashvili said.
(Rustavi 2)

Ambassador of Germany: If I were Georgian, I would be against participation in the Olympic Games

If I were a Georgian, I would probably be against going to the Olympic Games, especially after the choice of Russia's Olympic torchbearer, the ambassador of Germany to Georgia, Ortwin Hennig, said in an exclusive interview with Kviris Palitra newspaper.

The ambassador said that he would consider this a provocation and humiliation.

“But I am not Georgian and I can look at this issue with less emotion. History remembers the examples of boycotting the Olympic Games, but I do not remember the case, when it had an actual political result. I think it would be good if you do not make a decision all of a sudden. Observe the reaction of the international society and decide with a sober mind,” the ambassador said.

Hungary celebrates the National Day

In remembrance of the Revolution and Freedom Fight of 1956, H.E. Ambassador of Hungary to Georgia, Sandor Szabo, hosted a reception on October 23.
(The Messenger)