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The News in Brief

Monday, October 31
The second round of elections is over

The second round of Parliament elections for the majoritarian seats was held yesterday. Despite some minor violations, the elections could be assessed successfully completed. The final results, who qualified for the Parliament will be known on Monday morning.

Movement of citizens and vehicles resumed at Sarpi checkpoint

The movement of citizens and vehicles has been resumed at the Sarpi border checkpoint. As IPN was told by the Revenue Service press service, technical problems were eliminated about one hour ago and citizens of Turkey, Georgia and other countries may freely cross the border.

Travllers (except for Turkish citizens) and vehicles had been delayed for three days due to technical errors at the Sarpi checkpoint.

PM Says Diaspora Issues will Merge Under MFA

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said the portfolio of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues will be folded under the Foreign Ministry in the new cabinet.

Currently, the Georgian Cabinet has 16 full Ministries and three offices of the State Minister. PM does not need to seek legislative approval for abolishing the State Ministry.

PM Kvirikashvili also said he intends to nominate two or three new Ministers for the approval by the newly formed Parliament, although he did not specify which ones.

Speaking to Imedi TV on 29 October, he argued that no fundamental structural changes will be made in the Cabinet, since "such changes drop the tempo for a certain period of time" but, he said, "inside the individual ministries some structural changes will be made and also we would be very conservative on administrative expenses".

"This would be a cabinet that will bring lots of dynamism to the country," PM promised.

UNM claims governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti attacked its cameraman

The National Movement has accused the governor of the southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region of physically assaulting one of its photographers on Thursday evening.

Nikoloz Khizadze claims he was heading to the village Muskhi to document a campaign meeting for the UNM’s majoritarian candidate Vazha Chitashvili, who is participating in the second round of the parliamentary election, when governor Akaki Machutadze’s car appeared and blocked his way.

Giorgi Baliashvili, head of the local renovation service, then allegedly beat him, took his camera and left the scene with the governor and 20 or 30 accompanying people, Khizadze claimed at a press conference in Akhaltsikhe.

He claimed that the governor verbally insulted him and the UNM branch office.

Machutadze denied that he was present at the scene, saying he was at his office during the entire day.

Police questioned Khizadze for three hours yesterday night, and an investigation has been opened on the basis of article 178 of the Criminal Code about robbery.

Deputy Interior Minister Shalva Khutsishvili said the ministry will pay particular attention to this investigation.
(DF watch)

IRI long-term observers offer recommendations to political parties, officials and law enforcers

The International Republican Institute (IRI) long-term observers have offered their recommendation to Georgia’s political parties, officials and law enforcers that are as it follows: 'Electoral bodies should work to increase confidence in electoral administration.

'Throughout the remainder of the runoff campaign period, electoral management bodies—including the CEC, DECs and PECs—need to carry out their roles and responsibilities transparently and in strict adherence to the Georgian Election Code. Additionally, complaints and appeals—which will likely increase in number, intensity, and complexity in the last few days before the election—must be handled in a manner that is unbiased, lawful, and proportionate to the offense. Electoral bodies should improve electoral procedure training.

'The CEC should continue to incorporate international best practices into its procedures, particularly regarding the instruction and correct execution of electoral procedures on Election-Day. Taking into consideration the high number of official complaints reported to the CEC regarding electoral procedures, PEC members should be better trained in opening, closing, and counting procedures. Political parties should foster a peaceful, respectful and cooperative election environment.

'In the interest of maintaining a safe and open campaigning environment, IRI calls on all second-round parties to avoid engaging in confrontational rhetoric or behavior and take positive steps to prevent further disruptions of their opponents’ right of assembly. Additionally, party leaders need to send a clear message to their representatives in local government that they will not condone or reward actions taken in unofficial “support” of their party. Officials should respect the distinction between their public and political roles.

'As allegations continue to mount accusing GDDG of the improper use of government administrative resources for political benefit on and after Election Day, IRI urges GDDG not to use its authority to disadvantage political opponents and intimidate voters in the second round of elections. GDDG party leaders should instruct their elected officials not to take any action which might violate the integrity of their respective offices, and make it clear that violations will not endear them to the party. Political parties should take steps to enhance the inclusion of women.

'The IRI recommends that political parties not only continue to support women’s inclusion in electoral administration, but expand efforts to ensure that they are equally represented as candidates on proportional party lists. Until the 12 majoritarian system—which disadvantages women candidates—is abolished, and in order to ensure a balanced and democratic environment, IRI recommends that political parties focus on building the capacity of young women leaders, and support more women as majoritarian candidates. IRI continues to believe that a regional-proportional system of representation would enable both ethnic minorities and women to achieve increased representation in future parliaments, and urges the new parliament to move affirmatively in this direction when it enters new session in November. The role of law enforcement should remain separate from and impartial to election activities. IRI encourages Georgia’s law enforcement agencies to thoroughly and impartially investigate all electoral violatis that transpired on Election Day, and to ensure that its agents are not involved in acts of intimidation in the runoff elections,' reads the IRI report.