The messenger logo

The News in Brief

Tuesday, June 24
UNM addresses CEC to announce date of second round of municipal elections

The United National Movement addresses the Central Election Commission of Georgia to announce the date of second round of municipal elections.

“The government and the Prime Minister are exerting pressure on the Chair of the Central Election Commission, as they want to hold second round elections on July 12-13, it is impossible and it is a violation of the law”, one of the leaders of the United National Movement Gigi Ugulava said at a briefing on Monday.

According to Ugulava, if second round of municipal elections takes place before July 19, this means that the CEC knows in advance the results of pending court cases. “It is impossible to hold second round election on July 12 or July 15. We address the Central Election Commission to announce the date of the elections today or tomorrow. Otherwise, there will be a deal between the government and the Central Election Commission”, Gigi Ugulava said.

Court rejects complaint of Non-Parliamentary Opposition

The Akhalkalaki City Court has not approved the complaint of the Non-Parliamentary Opposition election bloc, which was demanding the re-count of vote ballots from three election districts in Akhalkalaki.

The Non-Parliamentary Opposition plans to appeal the ruling at the higher instance court. As for another complainant, demanding the repeat polls at one election district, the Akhalkalaki City court will discuss this complaint in a few days,

The Non-Parliamentary Opposition says the last election proved that nothing has been changed in the country in the electoral system despite the change of the government and the government still does its best to use all means for its success.
(Rustavi 2) - Georgian side rejected Armenia and Russia in terms of restoring Abkhazian railway

According to an Armenian information portal, the Georgian side rejected Armenia and Russia in terms of restoring Abkhazian railway.

,,Apparently, Serzh Sargsyan has returned empty-handed from Georgia. At least, the official press release does not say anything about the most important things – good news about the Abkhazian railway and agreement between Armenia and Georgia on duty free border,’’ – the portal writes.

,,Why would Georgia need the Abkhazian railway and reconciliation with Abkhazia? In a week Tbilisi will become part of the European customs area and Euro-Atlantic responsibility. The Western policy is aimed at isolating Russia and Georgia has no reason to resist that policy.

The point is not only the railway which is presented as one of the arguments of membership of Armenia to the Eurasian Union. The point is that the Armenian-Georgian border will become the border between the European and Eurasian customs space. Armenia’s membership to the Eurasian Union supposes rise of customs duties, and the Armenian government does not hide this. Provided that Georgia is not likely to allow duty free transit of goods between Armenia and Russia, prices of goods will soar in Armenia.’’ – Writes adding that Serzh Sargsyan did not manage to assure Georgia in freeing transits from custom.

,,So far Georgia has refrained from a confrontation with Russia. A week later, however, when Georgia joins the Euro-Atlantic security area, a lot of threats to Georgia will disappear.’’ – Says the article.

It is notable that before his visit in Georgia, Serzh Sargsyan met with the President of ,,Russian Railways’’, Vladimir Yakunin, who stated that negotiations on restoring railway which will connect Armenia and Russia via Abkhazia are under way, but this issue is of a bit more political character.

As for Official Tbilisi, it states that there was not said even a word about restoring the railway in the frames of Serzh Sargsyan’s visit.

Opera singer Tamar Iveri released from contract due to homophobic comments

Opera Australia today parted ways with the controversial Georgian soprano at the centre of a worldwide furor over incendiary homophobic comments that appeared on her Facebook page last year. Tamar Iveri will no longer appear in the Sydney production of Otello next month.

In a statement, Opera Australia said: “Opera Australia confirms soprano Ms Tamar Iveri will not be performing in Otello. Opera Australia has agreed with Tamar Iveri, to immediately release her from her contract with the company. Ms Iveri and her husband have both made public statements in the last 48 hours with regards to comments attributed to Ms Iveri. She has unreservedly apologized for those comments and views. Opera Australia believes the views as stated to be unconscionable.”

Although there has been no specific statement regarding her contracted and advertised return for Tosca in Melbourne later in the year, a spokesperson for Opera Australia said that the company was "following the same due process we worked through on Otello".

Pressure had been mounting on the national opera company to revoke Iveri’s contract since Limelight broke the story on Friday. In the letter from May 2013, LGBT people were described as “deviants” and homosexuality was referred to as part of the “faecal mass” being foisted on Georgia by the West.

The Australian opera community meanwhile had been ramping up the pressure on Opera Australia to dismiss Iveri with over 700 comments on their Facebook page and a petition circulating on with over 4,500 signatories calling on them to take action. Brussels has taken a lead as well, cancelling Iveri’s upcoming contract for Un Ballo In Maschera.

At this stage it is not known who will take over the role of Desdemona in Harry Kupfer’s production of Otello due to open in Sydney next month, nor what Ms Iveri’s role with Opera Australia might be with regard to future contracts.
(Limelight Magazine)