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The News in Brief

Wednesday, April 27
Debates on Electoral System

Parliament is expected to start at a session this week discussion of rival drafts of constitutional amendments on electoral system reform.

Both of the bills – one proposed by the GD parliamentary majority group and another one initiated by parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition parties – envisage scrapping of the majoritarian component of the electoral system, but the main difference is over timing of the reform.

The opposition-backed bill proposes to carry out the reform immediately, ahead of the parliamentary elections, scheduled for October, and GD-backed bill offers to apply the reform for the post-2016 elections.

The support of at least 113 MPs is required for any constitutional amendment to be passed; none of the groups in the parliament has a constitutional majority.

The parliamentary bureau decided on Monday to launch a discussion of the both bills either on Wednesday or Thursday, but the dates are tentative and may change. Opposition lawmakers, as well as MPs from the Republican Party which formally remains part of the GD majority group, wanted to fix an exact date, but MPs from Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party appeared noncommittal.

Although Parliament may discuss the bills this week, it is not yet clear when the draft amendments will be put to a vote. It will depend on the number of MPs present in the chamber; the vote on a constitutional amendment can only be held if at least 113 lawmakers are attending session.

Approval of opposition-back bill is highly unlikely as it is opposed by the GDDG, the largest group in the Parliament.

Although lawmakers from the Republican Party, as well as the National Forum, have signalled readiness to vote for the bill, it will not be passed without the support of GD MPs. This bill is expected to be put to a vote first; if it fails - which is highly likely - then some opposition lawmakers, specifically from the Free Democrats party, are going to vote in favour of the GD-proposed bill in order to have majoritarian component of the electoral system scrapped at least for post-2016 elections. Without the support of the UNM (the largest opposition group in Parliament), the GD-proposed bill will not be passed; the UNM has yet to announce whether it will support it or not. (

Prosecutor's Office didn’t appeal against British court decision on ex-Minister

According to a lawyer, the Prosecutor's Office did not appeal against a British court's decision on the extradition of former Georgian Defense Minister Davit Kezerashvili.

As lawyer Shota Mindeli told IPN, the Prosecutor's Office missed the deadline for appealing against the decision and, therefore, the British court's decision, according to which the Georgian Prosecutor's Office refused to extradite Kezerashvili, entered into force.

Mindeli presented the decision to court today and asked a judge to attach it to the case as evidence. The motion was satisfied by the judge.

In addition, the court left Kezerashvili in custody today. According to legislation, the court considers the issue of pre-trial detention once every two months, and the deadline expired yesterday. (IPN)

Airport opened in Kakheti

King Erekle II Airport was opened in the city of Telavi in the Kakheti region.

As an InterPressNews correspondent reports from the region, the airport can simultaneously receive 20 small aircraft.

The airport has only served for training flights for university students up to now, but from now on all interested individuals can arrange small airplane tours. A total of 6 two-seat planes and 1 six-seat plane will serve customers.

As aviation university rector Sergo Tepnadze told Interpresnews, the airfield is available for international flights as well.

The opening of the airport was attended by the regional governor and representatives of local government.

Display flights were performed for the media. (ipn)