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The News in Brief

Wednesday, October 30
Outgoing Georgian President Saakashvili visits Brussels

Georgia's outgoing President, Mikheil Saakashvili, is in Brussels for talks with European Union leaders ahead of the key Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius in November. Georgia hopes to sign an Association and Free Trade Agreement with the EU at the November 28-29 summit. Saakashvili said the summit will become what he called the "final and simultaneously symbolic act" of his presidency.

In a farewell address late on October 28, Saakashvili - who was constitutionally forbidden from running for a third term - said his presidency had been a "fascinating journey" but that "the future has come. It belongs to you." (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty)

CEC preliminary results: Margvelashvili gets 62.11% of votes

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has finished summarizing the preliminary results of the presidential elections. The commission counted the results from 3,741 polling stations.

The preliminary results showed that presidential candidate of the Georgian Dream coalition, Giorgi Margvelashvili, received 62.1% of votes which means that 1,012,214 voters supported him. The United National Movement (UNM)’s Davit Bakradze received 21.7% of votes from 354,206 voters. Democratic Movement-united Georgia’s Nino Burjanadze -10.1%, Labor Party’s Shalva Natelashvili - 2.8%, while Christian Democratic Movement’s Giorgi Targamadze - 1.06%.

23 candidates were running for the presidency. However, all the rest received less than 1% of the votes.

1,661,273 voters took part in the presidential election as a whole, that is 46.96% of all voters across the country. (InterPressNews)

Saakashvili meets with UNM political council

Outgoing president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili met with the members of the political council of the United National Movement (UNM) to discuss and summarize the results of Sunday’s presidential election. Saakashvili said that despite the intensive pressure on the UNM and its supporters in recent months, and also considering the low voter turnout, the result gained by the UNM candidate Davit Bakradze was good enough for a political party focused on the future.

Saakashvili thanked Bakradze, who is at the same time the chairperson of the political council and also expressed his gratitude towards the supporters of the party. President also thanked each voter, who voted for the UNM candidate at Sunday`s elections. (Rustavi 2)

Margvelashvili has decided on new Security Council secretary

The winner of the presidential electionm, Giorgi Margvelashvili, has picked the person who will be the new secretary of Georgia’s National Security Council.

At a joint press conference with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, he avoided naming who the new secretary is, but said he has his own favorite. According to Georgian law, the president appoints the secretary of the Security Council. Giga Bokeria, who now holds this post, has said that he will resign before Margvelashvili’s inauguration. Margvelashvili will appoint a new Security Council secretary after the inauguration. “I have already selected a secretary of the Security Council, but I want him to know about it too. First I have to tell him, and then you,” Margvelashvili said. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

New Georgian president will be sworn in November 17

Georgia’s new president will be sworn in on November 17. The location of the inauguration and other details are yet unknown. After the swearing-in ceremony, the new president will be empowered to use his authority granted by the state constitution, and the current president Mikheil Saakashvili will no longer be in power. The constitution defines how the inauguration is to be conducted, but it is also regulated by the presidential decree about protocol.

According to the constitution, the inauguration must be held on the third Sunday after Election Day.

Members of the Georgian Dream coalition discussed the inauguration at a political council session two days before the election. Coalition member Zakaria Kutsnashvili said that the inauguration will not be pompous. An organizing commission will be created to discuss and prepare the details. (Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Head of Georgian new president’s administration made public

Lasha Abashidze becomes the head of the new Georgian president's administration. Abashidze worked with Margvelashvili in the Ministry of Education and Science and later in the electoral office. (Trend)

European parliamentarians visit Georgian ex-PM in prison

The Secretary General of the United National Movement (UNM), Vano Merabishvili, who is under the pre-trial detention, was visited by the European parliamentarians, who arrived in Georgia to monitor the presidential election.

"First we have learned that the results of the election were not a surprise for him. The ex-Prime Minister is optimistic, despite the fact that he will have to spend at least a year in prison," member of the European Parliament, Krzysztof Lizek said. (Trend)

Red Zone to be off-air from December

The Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB)’s Channel 1 is going to stop airing program Red Zone from December on. GPB Director General Tamaz Tkemaladze said the decision was due to the financial crisis the broadcaster is facing.

“Financial hardship is the issue. The program is too good though. It costs us a little bit too much. Thus far we have not officially publicized the news,” said GPB chief. The latter though did not specify the specific amount the broadcaster expended on the production per program.

Red Zone is a joint undertaking of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and GPB that has been on air for a few years now and is being hosted by Gogi Gvakharia. The contract with Radio Liberty is due to expire late this year, said Tkemaladze.

Marina Vashakmadze, Head of RFE/RL's Georgian service said she has not received any official notification about the extension of the contract and she has not been updated over the issue. (Media.Ge)