The issue of Tbilisi's mayoral elections has become one of central importance for Georgian politics. The opposition is unanimous in demanding that the local authority make the post of city mayor a directly elected position. Despite such protests, the government has already adopted on first hearing changes in the law on the mayor of Tbilisi that provide for the exact opposite.
According to the changes, the Sakrebulo (City Hall) will elect the Tbilisi mayor, meaning in effect that the ruling party will choose its own candidate, as new legislation also changes the system by which Sakrebulo members are elected, raising the possibility that all Tbilisi councilors will be representatives of the ruling party. Following changes to the constitution of the Central Election Commission which oversees all elections in the country, as a result of which the CEC is now staffed entirely by Saakashvili allies, the latest amendments to the law on local elections in the capital has led opposition parties to accuse the government of authoritarianism.
In response, the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition state that they will not participate in future elections and with this step they will put the authority in an uncomfortable situation with its Western allies. The opposition hopes that this will be followed by a serious reaction from the international organizations.
Based in London, we are an informal group dedicated to supporting democracy and human rights throughout
the former Soviet Union. Our aims are:
Informing the public about issues in this area that receive little coverage in the Western media.
Staging peaceful demonstrations and letter-writing campaigns in support of specific causes.
Supporting and publicising nonviolent pro-democracy groups throughout the region.
Encouraging European and American involvement.
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Third Way, the Belarusian organisation whose members are being prosecuted for producing satirical cartoons about Lukashenka,
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We are continuing to focus our efforts on the Belarusian prisoner of conscience Mikhail Marinich.
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