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The News in Brief

Wednesday, November 11
Georgia technically ready for electronic voting

Avoiding long lines at polling stations could become a reality for Georgians in future elections as the country is technically ready to launch an online voting system.

Georgia’s Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani said Georgia was "technically ready to hold electronic elections” but added it would still take time to actually launch this type of voting system.

"We will need other steps to be taken too to make this real. And these ‘other steps’ include legislation changes, promoting electronic ID cards and ensuring countrywide internet access,” the Minister said, noting even the most remote villages would need to be provided with proper internet connection for electronic voting to be effective.

Tsulukiani stressed one of the most important aspects of an e-voting system was that it would enable Georgian citizens living abroad to participate in elections.

Estonia has partnered with Georgia and supported the country to develop electronic governance. Tsulukiani said the Estonian experts had measured Georgia’s IT capabilities and concluded the country was technically ready to host its first electronic elections. (

Georgian president refuses to move out of Saakashvili’s palace

The Georgian government wants the President to move out of the presidential palace and move into the building they have refurbished for him, but the administration of the President once again refused to move into the new residence.

On Monday, the Minister of Economics, Dimitri Kumsishvili, called on the President to ‘timely decide’ what he is going to do about the Atoneli residence. He outlined that the government allocates finances monthly to keep the refurbished residence ready for him to use.

According to the Minister, the building is closed off and no-one is using it.

Kakha Kozhoridze, one of the President’s advisers, the same day responded that the President does not plan to change his decision about the Atoneli residence.

“About a year and a half ago, we sent an official letter [stating] that the President doesn’t plan to move out and he hasn’t changed this decision,” Kozhoridze said, adding that cabinet members have to decide the fate of the Atoneli residence.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili enraged Bidzina Ivanishivli, the businessman who put together the Georgian Dream coalition, when he decided to move out of the government office and into the Presidential Palace in Avlabari, which was constructed by his predecessor Mikheil Saakashvili.

Since then, Ivanishvili has often reprimanded Margvelashvili for this decision, while cabinet members have backed Ivanishvili and criticized the president for not moving out.

In his last interview, in late October, Ivanishvili said he doesn’t aim to keep silent about Margvelashvili’s decision to move into the palace.

“[The President] uses palace which takes up 16,000 square meters, even though there is another palace [on Atoneli Street] already prepared for him. But he doesn’t move in there, although the government indicated to him that he ought to move in there. He claims that this is a problem of personal confrontation,” Ivanishvili said on Imedi TV. “It’s rare to find such a cynical statement.”

The ex-Prime Minister pointed out that the construction of the palace in Avlabari required 300 million lari, while the Atoneli residence required only 26 million. (DF watch)

EU to prolong economic sanctions against Russia for 6 months

As the German Handelsblatt edition is reporting under its own sources, the EU will prolong economic sanctions against Russia during the summit planned to be held in December.

According to the source, the EU thinks there is no reason to lift the sanctions. The European diplomats say the sanctions will be softened once Moscow completely fulfils the Minsk Ceasefire agreements and international control is imposed on the Russia-Ukraine border.

According to the Deutsche Welle edition, the sanctions, imposed on Russia due to the Ukrainian conflict, are set to expire at the end of January but will be in force till June 23, 2016.

The Kremlin says they are expecting an official report from Brussels and do not believe in information spread via the media.

The EU imposed the first package of sanctions in March 2014. (IPN)