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The News in Brief

Thursday, November 6
President and Premier visit Eastern Georgia

President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili and new Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili made familiarizing visits to Eastern Georgia on Tuesday.

The Head of State visited Khashuri, where he familiarized himself with a baby food production plant and wood processing plant being built with American investment which would begin functioning in 2009. US$11 mln has been invested in the wood processing plant and $7 mln in the baby food plant.

“Despite the financial crisis new enterprises are being built in Georgia and our 18-month rehabilitation programme for the country and the “Georgia without Poverty” programme include these constructions,” Saakashvili stated in Khashuri.

Prime Minister of Georgia Grigol Mgaloblishvili was in the Kakheti region. As Black Sea Press was informed, the Head of Government held meetings in Kvareli and Telavi.

At the first meeting of the reshuffled Cabinet of Ministers the previous day the President had drawn attention to the necessity of active work in the regions and direct contact with the population. The visit to Kakheti was the second regional trip by the Prime Minister since his appointment, as he had visited Shida Kartli last week.

Speaking to journalists, the Prime Minister said that he intended to visit the regions regularly.

“By sitting in rooms and relying on the data of Ministers we will know only statistics and figures, but we must know what the people feel in reality. If a peasant does not tell us himself how the grapes were gathered, we will not learn about it from our officers,” Mgaloblishvili said. (Black Sea Press)

New PM holds first Government sitting

Newly appointed Prime Minister of Georgia Grigol Mgaloblishvili held the first sitting of the reshuffled Government of Georgia on Wednesday.

Mgaloblishvili focused on the draft state budget for 2009. The Georgian PM instructed Government members to expand contacts with field structures and the population, so as to understand what influence a new budget would have on their condition. According to Mgaloblishvili, next year’s budget “will become a driver for the Georgian economy, creating new job opportunities.”

25 issues were on the agenda of the first new Government sitting. (Black Sea Press)

Adjara electors voted voluntarily for ruling party – President of Georgia

Mikheil Saakashvili, the President of Georgia, is sure that at the Adjara elections the electors voted voluntarily for the ruling party without interference. The elections to the Supreme Council of Ajara were held on November 3, and according to preliminary information, the ruling United National Movement received 78.82% of the votes.

“The party I lead did not place advertisements on the television and did not spend money for the elections. After the Russian aggression we must not allow ourselves to thrust our opinion onto the population,” the President of Georgia stressed. The Supreme Election Commission of Ajara states that at the current stage of counting, the United National Movement has 78.82% of list votes, the Christian Democrats have 14.71% and the other four parties competing did not overcome the 5% barrier, We Ourselves receiving 2.7%, Kartuli Dasi 1.55%, Industry will Save Georgia 1.24% and the United Communist Party of Georgia 1.6%. In the six first-past-the-post majoritarian contests which accompanied the twelve-seat list ballot, United National Movement candidates were leading in five constituencies (Batumi, Keda, Kobuleti, Shuakhevi, Khulo) but it was not known who was leading in Khelvachauri.

Chairman of the Supreme Election Commission of Adjara Archil Mikeladze stated that during the elections no serious violations were observed and the election was held without incident at all 334 election districts. “On the whole the elections were held in a calm situation. Of course, there were certain shortcomings, violations, but they did not have an impact on results of the elections,” Mikeladze told journalists. Voter turnout was only 44.9%, with the greatest degree of apathy being observed in Batumi. The main non-Parliamentary opposition parties boycotted the Adjara elections.

Earthquake in Armenia

Residents of the Armenian capital, Yerevan, experienced an earthquake late on Tuesday. Its magnitude was about 4-5 at the epicenter, News of Armenia reports with reference to the National Seismic Protection Service.

“The earthquake occurred 7 kilometers west of the town of Masis, Ararat district, at about 10:53 p.m. local time,” a spokesman of the National Seismic Protection Service said. “This is the first earthquake of such magnitude to occur in the country for the last few months. Earthquake shocks of lesser magnitude were reported in Armavir last month,” the spokesman said.

According to the National Seismic Protection Service, the magnitude of the earthquake in Yerevan itself was 3-4. (Black Sea Press)