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The News in Brief

Tuesday, October 25
We urge political parties to participate in the elections, Ian Kelly says

“I have spoken many times about assessment of your elections,” - said Ian Kelly, the US Ambassador to Georgia, adding that the US believes the elections reflected the will of the Georgian people but at the same time they have had some concerns about some incidents.

“There were incidents of violence and intimidation. These kinds of incidents do not contribute to a calm atmosphere that is needed in order for Georgian people to be able to express their will. We continue to urge all parties to participate in the political process,” the Ambassador has said.

Final Results of Adjara Elections

Four parties have cleared the 5% threshold and won seats in a local legislative body of Adjara Autonomous Republic under the proportional representation, according to 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 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 required for winning seats in the 21-member Supreme Council of Adjara under the proportional party-list system, are Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement with 5.89% and the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG) with 5.7%.

The Free Democrats garnered 3.15% of the 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, which were also running in the Adjara elections, won a combined total of 3.64%.

The results mean that GDDG will take 8 out of 15 seats, while the UNM will have 5 seats and 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.

Will Georgia end compulsory military service? Decision expected in Nov

It is still unknown if a decision by the former Georgian defense minister to end compulsory military service will become a reality.

A decision may be expected in November, because Defense Minister Levan Izoria promised to ‘clarify’ the issue by next month, following a discussion within the ministry about a government strategy, to take place in October.

“Next week, we planned a large session of the commission which is considering this issue. Meetings will be held with experts and the non-governmental sector. In the beginning of November, we will present a report from 100 days of work, as well as certain future plans, which will include compulsory army service,” Izoria said.

On June 27, a few days prior to getting involved in the election campaign with the Republican Party, former Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli signed a decree abolishing compulsory military service.

The decree only concerned the Defense Ministry, meaning that Interior Ministry and Prison Ministry, which together account for 75% of draftees, would still be able to draft young Georgians.

The ruling GD party criticized Khidasheli’s decision, with Irakli Sesiashvili, head of the defense and security committee in parliament, saying that it was ‘shortsighted political PR’. Sesiashvili argues that ending compulsory military service is not a decision which may be taken by the defense minister.

Both the prime minister and the president expressed surprise at her decision. The PM said that such a decision needs approval by the government as well as the National Security Council.

The president agreed with this.

“No matter if I agree or disagree with this decision, it should not be done by a single official, but has to be considered at a government session and by the Security Council,” Margvelashvili said.
(DF watch)