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The News in Brief

Monday, July 7
Election administration releases special statement ahead of runoffs

The head of the Central Election Commission (CEC), which overlooks the 2014 municipal election process, believes the continuing issues resulting from the arrest of Tbilisi’s former Mayor is having a negative impact on the ongoing election process.

CEC chairperson Tamar Jvania made a special statement said the ongoing developments in Georgia following Gigi Ugulava’s arrest contributed to an increased tense environment, which was having a negative impact on the election process.

"It is essential that the pre-election processes take place in an independent, transparent and free environment that is in line with Georgian legislation and international standards,” she said.

She underlined the importance of ensuring equal and competitive election environment was being observed around the country before the second round of the 2014 municipal elections.

"Therefore, all activities must be exercised carefully and with high responsibility in order to avoid harming the election process,” Jvania said.

She expressed hope the Government, political parties and all electoral stakeholders would use all necessary means to ensure the elections are conducted in a peaceful and democratic environment

Abkhazian football club offers Suarez chance to play during ban

Abkhazian club Nart FC are ready to offer Luis Suarez the chance to continue playing football during his four-month ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup.

According to Gulf Times, “the 27-year-old Uruguayan was also expelled from the World Cup and handed a nine-match competitive international ban for the incident in a Group D match.

The Republic of Abkhazia is located within Georgia, but claimed independence following Georgia’s brief war with Russia in August 2008. The territory has not been widely recognized by the international community while its local football federation is not part of FIFA.

Gennady Tsvinariya, the president of the club, said Suarez will be able to take part in the Abkhazian national championship.

“Of course we cannot offer the Uruguayan footballer a financial package that he is used to, but the Abkhazian championship is at its peak,” said Tsvinariya. “We will be able to offer Suarez the chance to maintain his match fitness”.

Tbilisi City Court releases statement on Bacho Akhalaia’s case

Tbilisi City Court has released a statement on Georgia’s former Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaia’s case.

“On July 5, the City Court upheld the Chief Prosecutor’s Office’s motion and sentenced imprisonment to Bachana Akhalaia with regard to Sergo Tetradze’s case. Bachana Akhalaia has been charged with torture, organizing sexual violence and abusing official power.

Investigation is underway under Article 1441 , part II, Article 25, 138, part III and Article 332, part I and II of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which envisage the imprisonment from nine to 15 years”, the statement says.

Denmark increases financial aid for Georgia

Denmark is stepping up its level of support for Georgia and increasing its financial aid from 5 to 25 million Danish Krone (from $900,000 to about $4.5 million USD).

The news was announced by the Copenhagen Post two days ago.

Danish Trade and Development Minister Mogens Jensen said the decision to increase financial aid to Georgia was made after Georgia signed an association and trade agreement with the European Union (EU) on June 27.

The aid will be given to support Georgia’s efforts to strengthen its democracy and financial development, he said.

"Georgia, like Ukraine and Moldova, has with its signature on Friday sent an important signal that it wants a closer bond with the EU,” Jensen said in a press release.

"Georgia faces a number of essential reforms to strengthen its democracy, adapt and promote its private sector development, and reform its public sector in accordance with EU legislation.”

This move by the Danish Government has seen Georgia replace Armenia as a ‘priority nation’ in the EU European Neighbourhood Policy's (ENP) current strategy, which lasts from 2013-2017.

The Copenhagen Post article stated within the ENP, the EU works with southern and eastern neighbors to achieve the closest possible political association and the greatest possible degree of economic integration. This goal builds on common interests and on the values of democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and social cohesion.

Six other ENP ‘priority nations’ are Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.

Romania first to ratify Association Agreement with Georgia

Georgia’s Foreign Minister has welcomed Romania as the first European Union (EU) member state to ratify the EU’s Association Agreement with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The AA deals were signed by country and EU representatives in Brussels on June 27.

The Upper House of the Romanian Senate ratified the agreements at a session yesterday, July 3.

Georgia’s Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze praised the move. She said: "I would like to thank the representatives of Romania's executive and legislative bodies. Ratifying this agreement before Georgia is a gesture of goodwill on behalf of our great friend, Romania.

She said the Georgian Government was deeply grateful for their decision, in which both chambers of Romania's Parliament voted unanimously.

The document will be fully enforced once it has been ratified by the Parliaments of all EU's member states as well as by the European and Georgian Parliaments.

Parliament of Moldova ratified its AA with the EU on July 2. The Georgian Parliament planned to ratify the document later this month.