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The News in Brief

Friday, May 16
CEC has voter lists ready

The Central Election Commission of Georgia has completed the processing of data about eligible voters a month before the local government elections in Georgia. According to the CEC, Georgia has 3,472,772 eligible voters currently, however, the commission has given a month deadline to the voters to check up their personal data and make claims regarding any inaccuracies.

From tomorrow, the CEC will start the distribution of the voter information cards, where each voter will be provided with the information about the address and the number of the polling station, registration numbers, etc.

Voters, who have no registered address, will not be able to vote, however, they can apply to the Agency of State Service Development until May 28 to resolve this problem by registering their address. (Rustavi 2)

Georgia’s integration into NATO – an irreversible process

Georgia's integration into NATO is an irreversible process, the country's First Deputy Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said.

He made the remark in response to a statement by Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Lavrov stated that Russia is concerned about attempts to drag Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.

Zalkaliani underscored that Georgia's accession to NATO only concerns these two sides, and Russia has no opportunity to veto it.

"Alongside us, our European partners and the U.S. are also convinced that this process is irreversible. We have already achieved great progress in our path towards the alliance and this will be reflected at the next NATO summit in Wales," he said.

The results of various public opinion polls show that from 70 to 80 percent of the country's population support Georgia's accession to NATO. (Trend)

Tbilisi condemns referendum in Ukraine's Luhansk, Donetsk regions

The Georgian Foreign Ministry said on May 14 that it condemns “the so-called referendum” held in Ukraine's Luhansk and Donetsk regions, which “lacks any kind of legitimacy.”

“Such steps do not serve the goal of stabilizing the situation in Ukraine,” the Georgian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

It reaffirmed Georgia’s support for Ukraine's “sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders” and for “the international efforts aimed at finding ways to resolve the situation in Ukraine.” (Civil.Ge)

Former Georgian Deputy Interior Minister sentenced

A former Georgian deputy interior minister, Gela Khvedelidze, has received a suspended one-year jail sentence.

The Tbilisi City Court found Khvedelidze guilty of breach of privacy rights on May 14 and sentenced him the same day.

Khvedelidze was arrested one year ago, while still in office. Georgia's current prime minister, Irakli Garibashvili, was serving as interior minister at the time.

Khvedelidze was charged in connection with the leaking of a surreptitiously recorded sex video that purportedly featured a man who was accusing Khvedelidze of corruption.

He was released on bail shortly after his arrest.

Khvedelidze's lawyer said his client plans to appeal the Tbilisi City Court’s ruling to a higher court. (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

Government launches multi-million housing project for asylum seekers

The Government of Georgia will invest 2 million GEL in a project to provide purpose-built housing units for asylum seekers.

The homes will be available by September this year and are intended for 80 asylum seekers who fled their home and country.

"We saw a large number of illegal migrants and the center did not have enough space to house them, so we decided to build housing units in Batumi as well as in Kutaisi," Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Levan Izoria said.

The project was announced on March 6 by Davit Darakhvelidze, the country’s Minister of IDPs from Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia.

The centre will be built in Martkopi village, in the Gardabani District and will include 80 units.

Darakhvelidze said American investors would fund construction of the multi-storey buildings.

This decision was made following Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s visit to the United States earlier this year.

Building the accommodation block for asylum seekers was part of the second phase of obligations in the Visa Liberalization Action Plan (VLAP). (Agenda.Ge)

State employees will retain jobs after local elections

People employed by the state will not lose their jobs after the local elections on June 15.

On May 15 in Parliament the future employment of people working in a leadership role within municipalities was discussed.

According to amendments to the Public Service Law, which was adopted at its first hearing in Parliament today, these employees will retain their jobs post-election.

Changes to the law, initiated by the Prime Minister of Georgia, said the issue was of great importance to the public as the country prepared for local self-government elections on June 15.

The existing law meant people employed at the municipality level would remain as ‘acting employees’ until the newly elected high official had been officially announced.

The existing law also outlined that after the election, the Public Service Bureau would announce job vacancies at the various municipalities.

"After the elections the employees at the municipalities will not be fired from their work,” Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili said in a statement. (Agenda.Ge)

Political party named in honour of Georgian media mogul

A political party competing in the upcoming local elections has been named after the late-Georgian businessman Badri (Arkadi) Patarkatsishvili.

Former Parliament member and one of the founders of the party Valeri Gelbakhiani announced the official name of the party, which has been registered with the Georgian Central Election Commission (CEC).

Patarkatsishvili was one of the richest men in Georgia and founded Media Holding Imedi in 2001. He died in 2008 in England.

Meanwhile Gelbakhiani is set to run in the June 15 elections to represent the Tbilisi district.

The Rustavi city Mayoral candidate representing the party is Erosi Kitsmarishvili, who is one of the founders of the local television company Rustavi 2.

In the near future the party will nominate its candidates to stand in seven electorates in Tbilisi.

“We were not going to participate in the elections but it was the desire of the activists. I was chosen as a candidate in the Gldani electoral district because I am well aware of the problems of this area,” Gelbakhiani said. (Agenda.Ge)

Azerbaijani president receives Georgian interior minister

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has received Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Georgia Alexander Chikaidze.

President Ilham Aliyev with pleasure recalled his recent visit to Georgia, and noted the importance of the issues related to strengthening strategic cooperation between the two countries in all areas, which were discussed during the visit.

The sides also exchanged views over the development of Azerbaijan-Georgia cooperation in various fields, including between the internal affairs bodies. (Trend)

Ucha Nanuashvili accuses penitentiary department officers of creating artificial obstacles

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili has accused penitentiary department officers of creating artificial obstacles.

The Public Defender’s Office continues monitoring of closed establishments, including unplanned visits there, Nanuashvili said at a briefing on May 15.

According to him, the state in facilities and individual cases are being studied daily.

He said the state has an international obligation to help the Public Defender’s Office in carrying out monitoring.

Nanuashvili says the creation of any obstacle is punishable.

He said penitentiary department officers created artificial obstacles for representatives of the Public Defender’s Office.

Nanuashvili has already addressed the Minister of Legal Assistance and Corrections to carry out an examination of the mentioned fact. According to him, the address provides detailed information about the instances of hampering activities of the Public Defender’s attorneys.

Nanuashviloi says the Ministry of Legal Assistance and Corrections should study the case and take appropriate measures. According to him, he will demand the expansion of the Public Defender’s mandate during the parliamentary hearing. (InterPressNews)