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The News in Brief

Friday, May 29
Georgian Patriarch congratulates Georgian people on Ascension Day

The Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, His Holiness and Beatitude Ilia II, has congratulated the Georgian people on Ascension Day and served the festal liturgy at Holy Trinity Cathedral.

The Patriarch said in his sermon that each nation should go through the Crucifixion, Easter and Ascension together. Ilia II blessed the Georgian people again and wished peace and consolidation to the nation. “We should remember that God unites and the Devil divides. Let God unite the Georgian nation and make it happy,” Ilia II said.

Ascension Day is one of the great feasts of the Christian year, and commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. It is always celebrated on a Thursday, the fortieth day after Easter, as Jesus Christ remained on the earth for 40 days after Easter according to the gospel accounts. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian Embassy organises reception for Independence Day

The Georgian Embassy in the United States has held a reception in Washington to celebrate Georgia’s Independence Day. Diplomats, US officials and political analysts concerned with Georgian affairs attended the event.

Undersecretary of State William Barnes addressed the audience. “Truly it’s an honour to join all of you today to celebrate Georgia’s independence and the strong ties which bind our two peoples together. Georgians have much to be proud of. Particularly impressive has been your country’s commitment to improving the lives of Georgian citizens and strengthening relations with Europe and with the United States. Georgia has been a good friend to my country, and let me thank you for your support in Afghanistan and in Iraq. In the wake of the August conflict, we admired Georgia’s efforts to avoid new hostilities and its continuing commitment to addressing issues of security and stability,` William Barnes said.

Georgian Ambassador to the United States Batu Kutelia spoke about the significance of Independence Day and honoured those who fell for the independence of the country. “This is a day when we celebrate those who have paid the price of their lives for the freedom and independence of the country, the heroes who sacrificed their lives last August defending Georgia’s independence and sovereignty and those Georgians who fell defending freedom side by side with their American partners in Iraq and other parts of the world. I would like to see no more such prices being paid to secure the independence of the country,” the Ambassador said. (Rustavi 2)

Georgian businessman plans to run for President

Georgian businessman Aleksandre Ebralidze, whose business is in Russia, plans to run in the next Georgian Presidential elections. Yesterday his lawyer, Yuri Novolodski, accused the Georgian media of spreading misinformation about the activities of his client and urged the Prosecutor General to launch an investigation into this ‘tarnishing’ of his reputation. He stated that Ebralidze had not sponsored the “disorder” in Georgia, as had been reported in the Georgian media.

It is said that Ebralidze has been convicted twice and has close relations with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He plans to arrive in Tbilisi in June. (Rustavi 2)

Group working on Election Code assembles

The group working on the Election Code assembled at the office of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Tbilisi yesterday. Members of NGOs are participating in the discussion as well as political parties. Levan Tarkhnishvili, the Chair of the Central Election Commission, was also present.

Election lists were discussed at the meeting. The members of the group working on the Election Code said the new code should inspire trust in the elections.

MP Jondi Baghaturia, the leader of Kartuli Dasi, has proposed to impose a limit on the amount of money political parties can spend during the elections. This would put all the parties on equal terms. Members of the Parliamentary opposition have demanded that a nationwide election list be created and said that preparing electronic passports is also very important.

The head of the Civil Registry and the Chair of the Central Election Commission will prepare a special report on election lists, and Levan Tarkhnishvili said that all issues are open for discussion and agreement can easily be achieved. (Rustavi 2)