• Happy Vyshyvanka Day to our Ukrainian friends !

2021 is Zakaria Paliashvili’s 150th anniversary. To celebrate this date, his musical work “Mass” was published. The Ambassador of Vatican, Archbishop José Avelino Bettencourt made a speech on the presentation of this book. He highlighted: “Paliashvili dedicated his life to Georgian music, to studying its rich traditions, to promoting it on international area, in addition to the use of Georgian music in Georgian religious, catholic, as well as orthodox, context.”

Confrontation in Dmanisi

 In the city of Dmanisi (Kvemo Kartli) there was a mass riot and dozens of citizens confronted each other with stones and sticks On May 17. Law enforcement tried to defuse tensions and calm the sides, but locals managed to break the police chain several times. Two groups of locals clashed in the streets of an ethnically mixed town  after an altercation on May 16 at a local store, during which the owner refused to  give alcohol to one of the residents for free.

The Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia Vakhtang Gomelauri and the Head of the State Security Service Grigol Liluashvili visited Dmanisi On May 17. Minister Gomelauri said that certain “forces and groups” were trying to turn the conflict into an ethnic one, which the Georgian government would “not allow.” Ethnically Azerbaijanis are our citizens, first and foremost – Azerbaijan is our strategic partner, our ally, our neighbor and our friends. We must not allow this, it is the enmity of the country”

The director of Marneuli Community Radio, Kamila Mamedova, said that according to her, the government is trying to resolve the conflict not through legal means, but “domestically”, with the involvement of local authorities, acquaintances and relatives. According to her, with such a method, the situation on the ground will be temporarily calmed down, but after a while, the problem will “explode” again.

Opposition have criticized the government for failing to take adequate measures to prevent the situation from deteriorating after an inappropriate response and initial confrontation. According to Tamar Kordzaia, a member of the Republican Party, “The situation in Dmanisi is very tense, which could escalate into ethnic strife,” she said.

The Embassy of Azerbaijan in Tbilisi responded to the incident. The embassy said that the incident should be assessed only by the relevant structures and the perpetrators should be punished according to Georgian law. The embassy added that it was in contact with Georgian law enforcement agencies to “prevent any negative consequences of this unpleasant incident.”

The Public Defender, Nino Lomjaria, criticized high-ranking political officials when they mentioned foreign country  “in a  criminal confrontation.”  She was apparently referring to Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri, who spoke of the importance of ending the confrontation between locals, saying that Azerbaijan was a “strategic ally and partner” of Georgia. The Public Defender responded to reports of physical assault and damage to equipment of media representatives in Dmanisi and called on the Ministry of Internal Affairs to effectively investigate the cases and punish the attackers.

Nika Melia met with Mikheil Saakashvili in Kiev

Nika Melia, Chairman of the United National Movement, met with the third President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili in Kiev. According to the former president, Nika Melia had big plans, he was able to raise a “very high wave” to help the Georgian people.

The chairman of the opposition party says that with the help of Saakashvili he met many interesting people in Kiev, both Ukrainians and non-Ukrainians. Saakashvili added that Nika Melia has already won because he has eliminated the fear of imprisonment, repression and pressure. According to him, Melia’s behaviour in recent months is a turning point in the recent history of Georgia, “a new force has been given to all our people.”

A common position in the “National Movement” has not yet been formed regarding the signing of the “Charles Michel Document” and its entry into Parliament. Nika Melia himself said that the decision will be made transparently. He did not rule out that, just like the issue of electing his party chairman, the decision to enter the parliament will be made based on a Facebook poll.

NGOs are demanding the suspension of the election of judges to the High Council of Justice

Nine non-governmental organizations, including the Young Lawyers ‘Association, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), and Transparency International-Georgia, issued a joint statement.They demanded the cancellation of the Conference of Judges scheduled for May 26,On which 4 judges are going to  be elected as a members of the High Council of Justice.

According to the NGOs,  the selected candidates will not have “high public confidence and legitimacy” without an ambitious reform of the justice system provided with the April 19 agreement.The signatory organizations called on lawmakers to hastily adopt an amendment to the Law on Common Courts and suspend the process of electing members of the High Council of Justice until a “transparent and fair” environment is created.

 

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EGI Political Digest was created with support from Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC). The views and opinions expressed in this Digest are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of EGI or SILC.

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