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The News in Brief

Thursday, May 10
Parliament Speaker excludes Ivanishvili’s participation in presidential race

The Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze says the former Prime Minister of Georgia, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who has just returned to politics after more than 4 years of time out, is not going to run for presidency.

"Ivanishvili became the chairman of the Georgian Dream party. Hence, he will be directly involved in the political processes. He will chair the meetings of the political board. Ultimately, everything depends on him, but I know his position and as far as I know, he does not plan on participating in the presidential election. This is the information that I have,” said Kobakhidze in his interview with Rustavi 2.

Kobakhidze noted that the presidential candidate of the coalition Georgian Dream will be named in July or August.

Ivanishvili came to politics in 2011 and in 2012 the Georgian Dream coalition defeated the nine-year rule of the United National Movement

Presidential elections will be held in Georgia this fall.

Georgian clubs speak about black PR campaign against them

The Union of clubs and nightclubs in Georgia has released a joint statement, saying there is a “deliberate smear campaign” against the club industry, blaming them for promoting drugs.

The statement came after the death of five people and poisoning of several others allegedly by unknown drugs, which, according to some, are sold in nightclubs.

Representatives of 23 clubs have rejected the allegations and voiced a number of demands: 1) Stop demonization of clubs from regressive forces. State institutions must play an important role in this process and support the club industry. 2) Media outlets should stop stigmatizing clubs and connecting them with the tragedies; timely investigation into what substance killed the youth and publishing of the results of the expertise 3) The relevant agencies must take all measures to prevent poisonous substances sold online. 4) The Ministry of Health should launch an informational campaign with preventive content that will not be based on stereotypical approaches, but on their care for people 5) Emergency Assistance crews should be re-trained in order to be able to help people poisoned by dangerous drugs on time 6) Take steps towards a liberal drug policy, which will be based on care and not on preventative approaches.

"The success of this industry has created a lot of jobs and increased the country's tourism potential. At the same time, our industry is paying huge taxes. The most important thing is that the club scene today is in the forefront of progressive thinking in Georgia and is the foundation of a new, modern and open society", says the statement.

The Club Union represents the local art industry and its electronic music.
(Prepared by Anano Margebadze)