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The News in Brief

Monday, June 1
Changes to Georgia’s parking law defines car towing rules

New amendments to Georgia’s parking laws have clearly defined the duties of towing companies in Georgia's capital Tbilisi.

Recently Georgia’s Parliament adopted several amendments that will regulate the rights of tow companies and strictly outline situations when cars can legally be towed.

From June 15, vehicles that are deemed to be parked in ways that could cause an accident, promote traffic jams or hamper pedestrian access will be towed and temporarily stored in special penalty parking areas.

Furthermore, vehicles that do violate the law but don’t break the rules mentioned above will only be given a 10 GEL fine.

The current law states all parked cars that violate traffic rules (minor or major) will be taken to penalty areas by C.T. Park, the company responsible for providing parking and towing services in Tbilisi.

In this case drivers must pay a 70 GEL fine to get their cars returned after being towed.

Meanwhile another change to the city’s parking legislation obliged local officials or an authorised person to ensure that owners of towed vehicles can access information about their missing vehicle via hotline or text message.

President Speaks Out Against Bill on Banking Supervisory Agency

President Giorgi Margvelashvili indicated that if approved by the Parliament, he will have to veto a bill on stripping the Georgian National Bank of supervisory functions of banking sector.

Speaking at a meeting with business community in Tbilisi on May 29, Margvelashvili reiterated his negative stance towards the bill and said that “there are many reasons” why such proposal should be adopted and “there is no specific reason why we have to change” the existing system.

“I hope that… we will not see a law in the Parliament that the President will be forced to veto,” Margvelashvili said.

The bill in question was drafted by two lawmakers from the Georgian Dream ruling coalition and was submitted to the Parliament for consideration on May 21. The Parliament has not yet launched its discussion.

The proposed bill envisages the setting up of the Financial Supervisory Agency from July 1, 2015, which will be in charge of monitoring and supervising the banking sector and other financial institutions. These supervisory functions are currently carried out by departments within the Central Bank.

According to the bill, the Financial Supervisory Agency will have a seven-member board. The Central Bank’s governor will be an ex-officio member of the board, but will have no right to serve as a chairperson of the board simultaneously. The remaining seven members of the board will be elected by Parliament. The chairperson of the board will have the right to appoint the head of the agency.

Speaking about the reasons of the initiative, co-sponsor of the bill, MP Mechiauri, said on May 22 that current board members of the central bank “do not reflect at all interests of those forces, which are currently in power.” He also argued that because of that the government has no information about developments in the banking sector.

Speaking at a meeting of a consultative board of International Chamber of Commerce, Georgia on May 29, President Margvelashvili said that there should be “less politics” in business.

“I think this type of decision is not contributing to our ultimate goal of strengthening economy,” the President said, referring to the proposed bill.

In a joint statement last week leading business associations in Georgia warned that if approved the bill will put country’s banking sector “in jeopardy”.

UNM to Elect New Executive Secretary in Nearest Future

The political council of the United National Movement opposition party held a sitting on Saturday.

At the meeting the participants discussed various issues including election of a new executive secretary of the party.

According to the regulations of the party, the new executive secretary should be elected within three months.

Four members, including party’s executive secretary Zurab Japaridze, quit the United National Movement party last week.

Georgia’s Former Ambassador to Ukraine Appointed as Ukraine’s Taxpayers Association President

Georgia’s former ambassador to Ukraine, Grigol Katamaadze, has been elected as the president of the Taxpayers Association of Ukraine. Katamadze’s candidature was unanimously supported at the X congress of the association.

“We are fighting for a transparent tax system in Ukraine. Our experts are actively involved in the tax law changes. Reform should create a healthy system for taxpayers and our association has a huge role in this process ", Katamadze said.

Grigol Katamaadze served as Georgia’s Ambassador to Ukraine from December of 2008 to March of 2013.

More mass graves to be opened to find Abkhazian conflict victims

Eleven mass graves in Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region and nearby territory will soon be opened to find and identify bodies of those missing since the Abkhazian conflict in the early 1990s.

This agreement was reached after the Istanbul meeting between Georgian and de-facto Abkhazian officials last week, Georgia’s Refugees Minister Sozar Subari said. The negotiations were held under the auspices of the International Red Cross Commission.

"This meeting organised by the Red Crossed discussed only humanitarian issues, in particular the issue relating to the searching and transferring of the missing fighters,” Subari said.

He assumed tens of bodies would be transferred and identified once the mass graves are opened.

The Georgian-Abkhazian bilateral coordination mechanism worked within the framework of the International Red Cross Commission and aimed to find people lost during the 1992-1993 war.

As a result of the negotiations, 30 victims of the Babushera plane crash have been unearthed from the Babushera mass grave in Abkhazia and were transferred to Georgia last year.

The thirty people were among 132 people travelling on a plane from Tbilisi to Sokhumi, the capital city of Abkhazia, on September 22, 1993 when it was shot down while attempting to land at Babushera Airport. The aircraft crashed on the runway, killing 108 of the 132 people on board.

President thanks Interior Minister for hard and effective work

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili has thanked Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri for working effectively. He especially congratulated Vakhtang Gomelauri on Police Day while delivering his speech.

According to the President, when a dirty campaign was conducted against Police, Mr. Gomelauri managed to do his best and improved the situation due to his professionalism.

“I would like to especially thank him for working so effectively,” Giorgi Margvelashvili said.