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The News in Brief

Wednesday, December 23
Registration of refugees and persons with humanitarian status started

The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia will conduct annual compulsory registration of refugees and persons with humanitarian status (foreign citizens or stateless persons) from December 21, 2015 to March 31, 2016.

The Ministry has released information about the terms and places of registration:

A) Persons who were granted refugee status individually or by Prima Facie principle: 21 December 2015 - 29 January 2016; the central office of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and Accommodation (15a Tamarashvili St).

B) Prima Facie refugees: 1 February 2016 – 5 February 2016; the building of temporary representation of the Ministry in the village of Duisi, Akhmeta municipality.

C) Persons who were granted refugee status individually or by Prima Facie principle: 8 February 2016 – 12 February 2016; the central office of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of Adjara’s Autonomous Republic in Batumi (119 Komakhidze St).

D) The persons with refugee status, who cannot pass registration for excusable reasons within the abovementioned terms, are required to arrive at the central office of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and Accommodation from 15 February 2016 to 31 March 2016. (15a Tamarashvili St, Tbilisi) (IPN)

GD Tables Bill Increasing Threshold for Electing Majoritarian MPs

The Georgian Dream ruling coalition has submitted to an amended legislative draft to Parliament, which envisages replacing the current rule of plurality vote to elect majoritarian MPs in single-mandate constituencies with a majority vote.

Georgia’s 150-member Parliament is elected through a mixed system, wherein 73 lawmakers are elected in 73 majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies and the remaining 77 seats are allocated by a party-list, proportional vote.

Under the current system, a majoritarian MP candidate who receives more votes than other candidates but no less than 30% is declared the outright winner of the race.

According to the GD-proposed draft amendment to the election code, the threshold required for an outright victory in the first round will increase from 30% to 50%.

A second round runoff should be held if none of the candidate accumulates more than 50% of votes, according to the proposed bill.

The proposal comes amid a separate bill, which envisages the redistricting of 73 single-mandate constituencies, and which has already been approved with two readings by Parliament. The proposed redistricting aims at creating electoral districts of relatively equal size by number of voters.

GD first announced its intention to propose both of these changes – redistricting constituencies and increasing the voting threshold of electing majoritarian MPs – in June.

Opposition parties and civil society groups have been calling on the government to scrap the majoritarian component of the electoral system for next year’s parliamentary elections, but the ruling GD coalition has only agreed to do so after the 2016 elections. (

E60 Mototway cut off by flood for the third time

A section of the E60, the main highway running east-west through Georgia, has once more been cut off because a river broke over its banks near Kutaisi.

The damaged section is the 206th km of the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze road, the same section which was damaged twice last November due to bad weather.

The road is closed to all kinds of traffic, the Regional Development and Infrastructure Ministry announced. A detour is offered between Zestaponi and Kutaisi via Baghdati, but trailers and semi-trailers are prohibited from driving that way.

The ministry emphasizes the importance of the E60 and points out that the road section that has been cut off is a temporary bypass that will only be in use while a high-speed motorway is under construction.

There is still heavy rainfall which is hindering repair work. As soon as the water level recedes, the Road Department will begin clean-up and repair work. (DF WATCH)