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The News in Brief

Monday, November 14
Opposition parties plan to jointly evaluate parliamentary elections

“Sixteen oppositional parties have gathered for the first time since the elections,” Free Democrats' member Tamar Kekenadze told Interpresnews.

According to her, the main issue of discussion was how the parties are going to work towards changing the electoral system.

“We have agreed that we will together evaluate the parliamentary elections,” she said.

GYLA Warns against ‘Hasty’ Scrapping of State Ministry for Diaspora Issues

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) called on the government not to make “a hasty” decision on scrapping the Office of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said in late October that the portfolio of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues will be folded under the Foreign Ministry in the new cabinet. Currently, the Georgian Cabinet has 16 full Ministries and three Offices of the State Minister. PM does not need to seek legislative approval for abolishing the State Ministry.

“Scrapping of the Office of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues may be perceived as a negative message to emigrants living outside Georgia and it may create an impression that Diaspora no more represents a state task of specific importance,” GYLA said in a statement on November 10 and called on the government to hold public consultations before making a final decision.

Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani confirmed the government’s plans to scrap the office, but added that this direction will remain a priority for the government.

“This topic will not disappear from the list of our government’s priorities and the Foreign Ministry will be in charge of this issue,” she said on November 11 after the government’s session.

Saakashvili forms new political party in Ukraine, demands snap election

Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili has formed a new political party in Ukraine, and is demanding early elections there.

The announcement comes a few weeks after his party in Georgia, the United National Movement, was defeated in October's parliamentary elections.

Last week, Saakashvili resigned as the governor of Odessa, and on Saturday he openly stated that he will launch a party - named New Force - in Ukraine.

“I want to say that today we are establishing a new political team which aims to replace the political elite which controls the Rada. Our aim is to call a snap election,” he said at a press conference in Kiev.

Saakashvili promised that there won’t be any businessmen in his new party, but the party will support business. He also promised to staff the party with people who don’t crave money, but who want to serve their country.

Saakashvili believes that President Petro Poroshenko missed the chance to use his experience, while years ago both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump vouched for him. He said Poroshenko wanted to use him to fight corruption instead of carrying out reforms.

He refused to meet Poroshenko and members of his administration until a snap election has been called.

“Today in Ukraine I feel like I felt in Georgia back in 2001, when I went into opposition.”

Saakashvili became President of Georgia after the Rose Revolution in 2003. He served two five year terms. In 2012, the UNM lost the parliamentary election to the new Georgian Dream coalition. After the end of his second term as president ended in late 2013, he left Georgia. The former president was since charged in his home country for several criminal cases.
(DF watch)

Georgian Patriarch congratulates Donald Trump on victory

Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II has congratulated Donald Trump on winning the US presidential elections. The text of congratulation is posted on the website of the Patriarchate.

"Your Excellency, on behalf of the Georgian Orthodox Church, I cordially congratulate you on winning the US presidential elections. In a very difficult time this honor, but a heavy burden at the same time, was laid on you on the Lord's will. God make your service be foundation for peace and prosperity, justice and successes both in your country and in the world, including Georgia. God bless you”, reads the congratulation.