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The News in Brief

Wednesday, April 22
Georgia among the leading reformer countries – World Bank statistics

Georgia is in first place among the reformer countries in Europe and Central Asia and fifth in the world, says the World Bank (WB). These results were based on performance studies made over the last five years. Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili says this is a very serious success for the country, as it means more investments will be made in the country and confirms the effectiveness of Georgia’s reforms.

The report on reformer countries was prepared by analysing data from150 states. The list is divided into five categories. Georgia tops the list of European and Asian countries, and is declared the most successful country in reforming the tax system and financial sector. A corresponding award ceremony will be held in Vienna in two days, where Georgia will be represented by Speaker of Parliament Davit Bakradze. (Rustavi2)

South Ossetian opposition leader prevented from registering as election candidate

Russian online newspaper Kommersant reports that the Central Election Commission of the South Ossetian puppet regime has refused to allow the local opposition leader to register as a candidate for the upcoming Parliamentary elections. The Party of the People, led by Roland Kelekhsaev, a resident of Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, has decided to file a complaint at the separatists’ supreme court, but does not expect to find justice.

Kelekhsaev says that Kokoity and his regime are interested in having only loyal opposition in Parliament as they seek to change the law on Presidential terms and Kokoity would not be able to stand for a third term as President if a genuine opposition opposed this.

Two weeks ago Kelekhsaev was dismissed from the leadership of the People’s Party at an extraordinary congress held in Tskhinvali. Kommersant says that Kelekhsaev was dismissed due to his ties with an Ossetian businessman in Moscow, Albert Jusoev, who had been assigned to control the construction of the central gas pipeline from Russia to Tskhinvali. “If Kelekhsaev becomes an MP Jusoev will use this to disrupt the plans of Kokoity to run for a third term,” Kommersant argues. (Rustavi2)

Kazakhstan alters decision to take part in NATO trainings in Georgia

Kazakhstan will not take part in NATO-led military exercises in Georgia in May, the Kazakh Defence Minister said on Tuesday. “We will not take part in the NATO drills. It’s our final decision,” Danial Akhmetov stated, explaining "We are too busy for this."

The NATO drills will be held in Georgia and will involve 1,300 troops from 19 NATO member or allied states. In May and June, Georgia will host two NATO/Partnership for Peace (PfP) exercises, “Cooperative Lancer 2009” and “Cooperative Longbow 2009.”

Planning for the exercises began in April 2008 at NATO Headquarters. Such exercises are a normal part of the PfP programme and have been held in Georgia since 2001. They aim to strengthen cooperation in crisis response and peace operations.

The announcement of NATO drills in Georgia has triggered a sharp reaction in Russia. (Interpressnews)

Unidentified persons break into home of Alliance for Georgia member

Unidentified persons broke into the home of Levan Mikeladze, a member of the Alliance for Georgia and former Ambassador of Georgia to the USA on Monday night.

Only the maid was at home when the incident took place at Tsabadze Street number 9. The maid was physically abused by the attackers who demanded money from her. Levan Mikeladze is in the USA at present.

Irakli Alasania, leader of the Alliance for Georgia, stated that after repeated attacks on demonstrators the case looks very suspicious. “However, I do not want to draw a concrete conclusion until the investigation produces its findings,” Irakli Alasania noted. An investigation into the incident has already been initiated. (Interpressnews)