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The News in Brief

Tuesday, November 15
Three NGOs address interagency commission

Transparency International Georgia, the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, and the Fair Elections NGO have addressed the interagency commission with joint recommendations.

As InterpressNews was told by Transparency International Georgia's Programme Manager Levan Natroshvili, the recommendations of the three non-governmental organizations concern several issues.

"First, it is the electoral system. We have long been saying that the electoral system needs to be changed. Our favorite electoral system is a proportional electoral system. There are some alternatives, but we give preference to this system.

“Our recommendations also concern the composition of the election administration, as well as some changes in terms of administrative resources, participation of political figures in the campaign, and narrowing the circle of persons, who are free to participate in the campaign.

“In addition, our recommendations concern the strengthening of the institutional independence of the state audit service, introduction of some additional criteria for the election of the auditor general. One of the recommendations concerned vote-buying, election disputes and media regulations,” said Natroshvili.

According to him, the interagency commission will suspend working after the official tabulation of the election results, but they were promised that the commission will review the recommendations and submit them to Parliament.

New Deputy Head of State Security Service Appointed

Alexander Tabatadze, who served as Deputy Justice Minister over the past three years, has been appointed as new deputy head of the State Security Service.

The position of the third deputy head had remained vacant since Levan Izoria’s appointment as Defence Minister.

Before moving to the Justice Ministry, Alexander Tabatadze served as deputy to then Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili since late 2012. Earlier he already served in the law enforcement agencies from mid-1990s till 2008.

Georgia’s ombudsman calls on government to end female circumcision

Georgia’s Public Defender confirms that female genital mutilation (FGM) is being practiced in the eastern Kakheti region, a practice locals call ‘baptizing’.

Georgians learned last week that FGM is being practiced in three villages in the Kvareli municipality without the authorities knowing about it.

But the ombudsman said on Saturday that his staff began investigating the situation in October. On November 9, they carried out field studies in Kvareli, talking to locals, teachers, local government representatives, police and staff at the maternity hospital.

“Locals confirmed that there is such a practice, which is called ‘baptizing’. They said that during the practice, a small part of the clitoris is removed or pierced in home conditions,” the statement says.

The procedure is widespread in one of the three villages, while there are only a few families practicing it in the other two villages.

The ombudsman said locals are not aware about the possible risks and complications the procedure involves. They do not know the goal of the practice and mainly relate it to religious customs.

The ombudsman called on the government to take all measures to eliminate the recently discovered practice and handed over information it had collected to the Health Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The practice of female circumcision in Georgia’s Kakheti region was first revealed by Institute of War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) investigation and reported by DFWatch.
(DF watch)

Saakashvili sure Poroshenko will not extradite him to Georgia

The former President of Georgia, who recently resigned as the Governor of Odessa, MIkheil Saakashvili, believes that Ukraine’s President will not extradite him to Georgia. He made this statement in a televised interview with Channel 5 Ukraine.

‘’I have a very good impression of Petro Poroshenko. In my opinion, he will not do such a thing. Only imagine hypothetically that he will extradite me to Georgia. Even if it happens, I have 600,000 supporters there and I will be free in a week,” said Saakashvili.

According to him, he believes that he will return to Kiev after three days.