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The News in Brief

Tuesday, March 18
PM Garibashvili meets Georgian Dream coalition members

Upcoming self-government elections and related issues were discussed at a meeting led by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili with parliamentary majority representatives.

Garibashvili presented Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze as the coalition's election campaign leader and provided information about how the major electoral office will function in the future.

Chairperson of the parliamentary fraction Georgian Dream – Republicans, David Berdzenishvili, said the Georgian Dream coalition would name the majority candidates not according to quotas but would consider competitiveness.

"We will retain the model of electoral lists’ formation, which was developed for the 2012 Elections [and] Georgian Dream – Democratic Movement will be represented in the list with 50% [while] another 50% will be of other parties. I am sure that the coalition will be represented with a solid composition in all representative bodies after the elections,” Berdzenishvili told journalists after the meeting,

He said a structural unit such as a political council with an office in Tbilisi would be set up under the major electoral office, which will consist of the heads of the Tbilisi offices of the parties included in the Georgian Dream coalition, as well as the coalition factions’ members from the Tbilisi City Council.

Georgian Dream coalition member Eka Beselia said the coalition planned to be ready by the beginning of April.

Israel visa-free travel details announced

Georgian citizens can now travel to Israel without a visa for tourism or other private reasons.

Today Georgian authorities released details about the visa-free regime, which was adopted yesterday by Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs based on information from Israel’s Ministry of Interior Affairs.

The new rules state Georgian citizens who travel to Israel as a tourist or private visitor and stay in the country for 90 days or less during a six month period will be granted entry to Israel without a visa.

Travelers are obliged to have a return ticket and valid passport, which must be valid for at least six months from the date they enter Israel.

Furthermore, the tourists may be required to provide information about health insurance, hotel reservation and whether they have enough finances to fund their stay in Israel.

Visa-free entry into Israel does not mean travelers have the right to work in the country, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

However, Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said the Israeli Foreign Minister was currently on strike so the country could not officially provide the Georgian Ministry with all the necessary information.

In an interview with Georgian journalists, the Ambassador of Israel in Georgia, Yuval Fuchs, said the agreement had been ratified and local citizens could now travel to Israel without a visa.

"It is very regrettable that at the moment I cannot speak with authority, only unofficially, because the Israeli Foreign Ministry officials are on strike in demand of better conditions,” the Ambassador added.

Meanwhile, the two countries signed the visa free agreement in November last year but Israeli legislative bodies still needed to ratify it.

With Israel, Georgia had already unilaterally abolished a visa regime.

UNM Names Rustavi Mayoral Candidate

UNM opposition party has named Mamuka Chikovani as its candidate to run for Rustavi mayoral race in the June 15 local elections.

Chikovani, ex-deputy governor of the Kvemo Kartli region and ex-mayor of Rustavi, was UNM’s majoritarian MP candidate in Rustavi during 2012 parliamentary elections; at the time he garnered 41.17% of votes and was defeated by Zviad Dzidziguri of GD coalition.

GD has yet to name its candidate in Rustavi, where direct election of mayor will be held for the first time like in ten other towns on June 15.

Saakashvili’s uncle to sue Prime Minister

Former member of the UN Commission on Disarmament, and uncle of former Georgian president Mikhail Saakashvili, Temur Alasania, will file a lawsuit against the Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili in a New York court.

As Alasania said in Rustavi-2 TV, he will demand from Garibashvili a public apology for unfounded accusations.

The Georgian PM accused Alasania of actions against the country and involvement in the arms trade, calling him a former KGB colonel.

To restore my good name, I plan to file lawsuits in the courts in New York and Tbilisi.

"I am planning to file a lawsuit in courts both in New York and Tbilisi to "restore my good name". You may have noticed that recently there is a deliberate campaign to denigrate my reputation and image in some of the media. There are two ways out this situation: let the prime minister to prove the validity of his words or publicly apologize to me,” Alasania said.