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Pensions to increase from March 1

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Wednesday, February 27
In the run up to the January 5 snap presidential election, candidate Mikheil Saakashvili pledged to increase pensions in increments, beginning in December 2007 with a hike to GEL 55. The next rise to GEL 76 was scheduled for October 1. However, earlier this month the reelected Saakashvili announced pensions would receive a boost this spring.

The newspaper 24 Saati reports that from March 1 pensioners will see their monthly benefits increase to GEL 70—ahead of parliamentary elections that are scheduled for late May—in what some commentators say is a vote-winning government tactic.

Announcing the spring increase at a February 1 cabinet meeting, Saakashvili said it was important for the public to see real results from the government’s “Georgia without poverty” program.

“People will judge us not only by our ratings, which are high enough,” he said. “People expect more vigorous, more active and effective work from us, as well as concrete results.”