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Archive for the ‘politicans’ Category

For the first time on May 30, mayoral candidates must not only be directly elected by the voters rather than selected via party list, but also must gain at least 30 percent of the total vote. But will that 30 percent threshold, a compromise inserted after fierce debate between the parties about this powerful political post, help guarantee a competitive election?

Eka Siradze, the leader of International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) thinks that the threshold should be a measure of fairness in voters’ minds. In lots of countries there are different systems, she said, but “the mayor, being elected in the threshold system, will have more powerful mandate, than a mayor being elected without a threshold.”

The debate around the threshold pitted Mayoral Candidate Irakli Alasania’s National Alliance for Georgia party, which demanded a 50 percent threshold, against the incumbent mayor Gigi Gugalava’s and President Mikael Saakashvili’s ruling National Movement party, which advocated no threshold at all. The debates ended with the 30 percent middle choice proposed by the Christian Democrats.

But is that threshold high enough to guarantee a competitive race? Current polling figures show Gugalava ahead by a comfortable 38 percent. Meanwhile, only 13 percent of voters say they support Alasania, with other opposition party candidates coming in much lower. An additional 16 of voters were undecided, according to the poll, which was conducted by the Caucasus Resource Research Center (CRRC) last November. The poll was conducted randomly among 2000 Tbilisi residents and contained a +/- 3 percent margin of error.

From Various

A higher threshold was also the choice for most Tbilisi residents, according to the CRRC research, conducted at the request of NDI to assess voter attitudes and trends. Eighty percent of Georgians answered that a threshold during the mayoral election is needed. Only 6 percent of that group thought a 30 percent threshold was adequate, while the vast majority (60 percent) consider a 50 percent threshold or more to be the best suggestion.

From Various

Though Alasania threatened to withdraw from the mayor’s race when the threshold was set at 30 percent, he later changed his mind. Victor Dolidze, Chief Executor of Alliance for Georgia, explains that that 50 percent threshold was not a do-or-die requirement for their leader.

“We still think that 50 percent was absolutely appropriate for this situation but, as the government did not take this correct step, we agreed on a 30 percent threshold,” he said. It was the right move, apparently: according to the NDI survey:, 43 percent of Tbilisi citizens sare against the idea of Alasania’s boycotting elections and only 20 percent think that boycotting would be right.

From Various

“Certainly the 50 percent, at this certain period of our county, increases the chance for the mayor’s race to move to a second round,” said Tamar Zhvania, director of United Nations Development Programme Georgia (UNDP Georgia). “But to define the 50 percent threshold as an ultimate way out is impossible in terms of democratic standards. There is no direct approach to ideal election standards in the modern world so we can’t say for sure that thresholds might have a drastic significance during this election. “

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Surati-3960Georgia agreed with the ambassadors of EU Political and Security Committee about the special visa regime with EU countries. This was declared by the Foreign Minister of Georgia, Grigol Vashadze after the meeting of EU 27 ambassadors in Radisson SAS Iveria Hotel, on November 13.

“I don’t like speaking about things before it is officially signed as a document but I can explain the double responsibilities the simplified visa regime will bring to both sides. For EU this is to give Georgian citizens possibility to travel along the EU countries more easily and in our turn we should brush up our legislation in that way to be suitable for the standards of simplified visa regime”, stated Vashadze at the press conference.

Surati-3964Another important issue about which the minister spoke with EU ambassadors was the support of the union towards Georgia. The Sewdish Presidency of the EU political and security committee Olof Skoog stated after the meeting that EU tries its best to change situation in future and spread its monitoring along the whole country. They say that they try to change the position of Russia towards this issue but it is vain yet. “We continue in Brusels to discuss the issue about preceding our mission and mandate problems”, said the head of the delegation Olof Skoog.

Vashadze also added that in spite of the fact the mission’s monitoring borders are limited, the mission is successful in Georgia. He added that at present EU mission is actively involved in the process of returning back four teenagers kidneped by the separatists from village Tirdznisi. Vashadze also added that, according to separatists , the health condition of four teenagers is not under danger.

Closed door meeting lasted 45 minutes. Before this EU ambassadors held meetings with the Prime Minister Nika Gilauri at first, then with the State Minister of Reintegration Issues Temur Iakobashvili. Before meeting with the Foreign Minister, the delegation had lanch with Mikheil Saakashvili at the President Palace. After the meeting with Vashadze, EU ambassadors held their last meeting of the day with non-parliament opposition leaders.

Sopo Datishvili

Shorena Kopaleishvili

Zura Balanchivadze

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Surati-3814NGO Former Political Prisoners for Human rights are going to start protest rally on November 23 if the points of the resolution accepted on November 7, 2009 aren’t taken into the consideration by the government. It was declared on the press conference on November 9.

The resolution, consists of three main issues: Freedom to the political prisoners, Freedom of speech (to restore the right of ownership on the seized TV channels), Free and just environment for any kind of elections.

Surati-3823The representatives have some plans for the rally preparations.The member of the Movement November 7, Jaba Jishkariani said that the society should unite for expressing their firm position towards the injustice in the country. “I convoke all the students to join the protest. Our organization is going to hold meetings with the different university students and in that way we will spread our flanks to the young people”, Jishkariani stated.

The head of the NGO Political Prisoners for Human Rights, Nana Kakabadze stated “Today we are going to take the copies of resolution to the legislative branch and to the president’s office and on Wednesday we will hand the resolution to the EU mission in Georgia, also to the US embassy”.

The lawyer Davit Liluashvili who was also presented at the press conference stated that freedom of speech, political prisoners and unjust court are those problems around which the society should on November 23. He also added that November 7, 2009 street protest was just demonstration of the public demands towards the government, so it didn’t matter how many people stood at the street meeting. Liluashvili and also other representatives of the NGO think that the major massage of the people was already uttered on that demonstration.

Maia Eloshvili, the wife and lawyer of a political prisoner Vakhtang Talakhadze, detained in 2006 as a member of the political association Georgian Movement, says that her husband was sentenced without any reason. “We don’t even ask for the amnesty because my husband wasn’t guilty consequently there is nothing to be pardoned”, Eloshvili added.

Still it isn’t known which political parties will join the initiative of the NGO about November 23 rally.  Nana Kakabadze stated that to her surprise there wasn’t vivid position of the opposition leaders about the idea of the demonstration. “The initiative of the street demonstration comes from us. On Saturday demonstration there were mostly the common citizens then oppositional faces, because we protect their demands and our aim isn’t political positions.  Those who think that our demands towards the government is fair, can join us”, added Kakabadze.

The leader of the People’s Part Koba Davitashvili is among those who is going to attend protest rally on November 23. “Our party will stand with them if the paragraphs from the resolution aren’t taken into consideration by the government. We were with the NGOs on Saturday and we will be there in future as well”, stated Davitashvili on telephone interview.

Sopo Datishvili

Shorena Kopaleishvili

Zura Balanchivadze

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Dominoes in Berlin, November 8, 2009

The world recalls one of its important moments – the fall of Berlin Wall, the end of Cold War. Due to this subject anticipation in Berlin grows. Thousands of people are gathered in the area of Brandenburg  Gate to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Berlin Wall’s Fall. Dmitry Medvedev, Gordon Brown and  Nicolas Sarkozy are among the honored guests.

“We wrote to our friends in East Germany saying if it’s true what we are seeing on the television, we invite you to come and see us as soon as possible,” said one Berlin resident. “And a few weeks later they were there and they were surprised themselves that it had happened.” Quoted from EuroNews.

Massive stones are put in Berlin’s streets as giant dominoes that symbolize Berlin War. Domino pieces are original size of the wall and are routed in front of Brandenburg Gate to the Potsdamer Platz. Massive stones, with 2,5 metres in height and 1,200 kg of weight, are bright colored by school children. Most part of the stones will be removed in 2 days. Quoted from People’s Daily Online.

The celebration will end with concert that is dedicated to Berlin Wall anniversary. The main soloist of the concert will be Paul van Dyk, who was born in the former GDR, has composed a song for the event.

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End of Berlin Wall November 9, 1989

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pict_20090217PHT49708The president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Klaus, signet Lisbon Treaty on November 3. 27-th signature on the document, which leads EU into a new phase of development, will enter into force on 1 December 2009.

According to FRANCE 24 Klaus signed Lisbon Treaty after the Czech Republic’s constitutional court stated that the treaty would not conflict Czech constitution. Before signing the document, a week ago, Klaus drew attention to the treaty’s civil rights character. He wanted to ensure that it would not allow ethnic Germans to force out of the former Czechoslovakia.

The main issues of Lisbon Treaty, which was signed in Lisbon on 13 December 2007, is an agreement that involves EU into important reforms such as common European Law, the post of EU president and foreign minister. Long-term negotiations ended successfully to the supporters of a new phase in European Union. Leaders of Germany, UK and other European countries greeted the Czech Republic’s decision as a big success. EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana also supported this fact.

“This treaty re-forces our capacity to act, not only gives the democratic accountability to the European Union,  but also more official decision of making process and also a capacity to work globally in a more cue-rent way”, commented the European Commission Chief José Manuel Barroso.

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