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The News in Brief

Monday, October 24
I will ask God to bless your nation - Pope Francis to President of Georgia

Pope grateful to Georgia

The President of Georgia has hosted the Nuncio of the Holy See to Georgia, Monsignor Marek Solczynski.

As InterpressNews was told by the presidential administration, Monsignor Solczynski thanked Giorgi Margvelashvili for organizing the Pope's visit at a high level and handed over a letter of gratitude from Pope Francis.

"I want to express my appreciation for your gracious hospitality during my recent visit to Georgia. I am grateful for your and your government’s efforts during the visit and thank you for your kindness and hospitality expressed to me.

“Inspired by deep faith and culture of the Georgia people, I will always recall your country with great love. I hope that this visit will strengthen the friendly ties between the Holy See and Georgia and will promote peace and understanding between our peoples.

“I pray for Your Excellency, your spouse and children, the precious people of all Georgia and I will ask God to bless your nation," reads the Pope's letter.

Final Results of Adjara Elections

Four parties have cleared the 5% threshold and won seats in the local legislative body of Adjara Autonomous Republic under proportional representation, according to the final vote tally of elections, which were held simultaneously with the parliamentary vote on October 8.

The second round of majoritarian races in Adjara’s all six single-mandate constituencies will be held on October 30.

According to the final vote tally approved by Adjara’s Supreme Election Commission on October 21, the GDDG ruling party garnered 45.13% of votes in the Autonomous Republic, followed by the UNM with 29.62%;

Two other parties which also cleared the 5% threshold were Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement with 5.89% and the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG) with 5.7%.

Free Democrats garnered 3.15% of votes, while the State for People, led by opera singer Paata Burchuladze won 2.93%; the Labor Party won 2.44% and the Republican Party 1.5%. Another seven parties garnered a combined total of 3.64%.

The results mean that GDDG will take 8 out of 15 seats which were up for grabs under the proportional representation; the UNM will have 5 seats, while Burjanadze’s party and the APG will have one seat each.

Like the nationwide electoral system, Adjara’s elections are also held under the mixed system – 15 seats in Autonomous Republic’s Supreme Council are allocated proportionally under the party-list contest and 6 members of the local parliament are elected in the Autonomous Republic’s six single-member districts.

Majoritarian races in all six single-mandate districts of Adjara went into the second round as no candidate received more than half of the votes in the first round.

Runoff races will be held between GDDG and UNM candidates on October 30.

Handover of suspected murderer topic at EU-hosted talks about Abkhazia

Georgia demanded the handover of a suspected murderer during a six hour meeting with breakaway authorities in Abkhazia this week.

The meeting was held in Gali, in the southern end of the region, and dealt first and foremost with the fate of Rashid Kanciogli, the border guard suspected of fatally shooting a Georgian mann, Giga Otkhozoria, on May 19.

“Extensive efforts were given to find a way to bring to justice the suspected perpetrator of the tragic case,” EUMM said in a statement.

Alleged border violations and criminal activities were also discussed at the meeting of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM), which are regular field meetings created in the wake of the 2008 Russia-Georgia war which are co-hosted by the EU and OSCE and aimed at solving practical problems between the sides in the conflicts.

Kakhaber Kemoklidze, head of the Georgian delegation, said there was also discussion about the health condition of Georgians who are in prison in Abkhazia. A further topic was missing persons.

Agreement was reached about free movement of students from Gali to Georgia-controlled territory in order to pursue education, Kemoklidze revealed.

“Naturally, we will follow this process, and we hope that local students never encounter these problems,” he said. “The representatives of the de facto authorities have stated that this problem will be removed from the agenda.

There have only been held 40 IPRM meetings regarding Abkhazia, compared to 70 such talks about South Ossetia, because the former head of EU’s monitoring mission, called EUMM, made a controversial statement which led to a temporary boycott of further talks by the breakaway Abkhaz side.

The next IPRM meeting in Gali will be held on November 11.
(DF watch)