U.S. urges Georgia to reinforce democracy, rule of law
By Margarita Antidze TBILISI (Reuters) - Georgia must reinforce its commitment to democracy and ensure its judicial system is free of political bias, the United States said on Tuesday, after weeks of demonstrations in the ex-Soviet state demanding changes to the electoral system. The intervention by the U.S.
By Margarita Antidze
TBILISI (Reuters) - Georgia must reinforce its commitment to democracy and ensure its judicial system is free of political bias, the United States said on Tuesday, after weeks of demonstrations in the ex-Soviet state demanding changes to the electoral system.
The intervention by the U.S. State Department ahead of parliamentary elections next year will be a blow to the ruling Georgian Dream party, led by Georgia's richest man Bidzina Ivanishvili. Opponents accuse him of ruling the country from behind the scenes despite having no formal role in government.
"We urge the Georgian government to reinforce its commitment to the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and rule of law by ensuring that its judicial and prosecutorial system is free of political bias," the state department said.
The South Caucasus country, which serves as a transit route for Caspian Sea oil and gas, was widely praised for establishing democratic institutions in the post-Soviet era.
But human rights watchdogs have criticised the current government over a lack of progress on judicial reform and for putting pressure on independent media.
This month the U.S. Embassy and the European Union mission in Georgia criticised a vote by parliament to appoint for life terms Supreme Court judges whom the opposition rejected as pro-government.
The mass protests began in November after parliament failed to approve reforms to the electoral system including a move to full proportional representation.
Irakli Kobakhidze, a Georgian Dream lawmaker, described the State Department's message as "a statement of support from the United States", which Georgia has long seen as a strategic partner as it tries to shift away from Moscow's orbit.
"The statement does not say that prosecutor's office or courts are politically biased," he said.
But the opposition said the statement was a clear message to the government, which some protesters see as too soft on Russia, which fought a brief war with Georgia in August 2008.
"Alarming messages against the existing regime in Georgia continue to come from Washington," said Shalva Natelashvili, the opposition Labour Party leader.
The authorities was under fire again last week when Facebook Inc
(Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Catherine Evans)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Monday it would produce at least 600 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, up by 100 million doses from its previous forecast, as the United States continues to roll-out the vaccine. The company was working to invest and hire in order to deliver up to 1 billion doses this year, the higher end of its production forecast, it said
WARSAW (Reuters) - A skating rink owner in the Polish city of Szczecin believes he has found a way to keep his business open despite coronavirus restrictions - operate as a flower shop instead. His plan is simple - the customer has to purchase access to the flower "warehouse", then chooses from a box of flowers in the middle of the rink. "You can jump, crawl or go on all fours ..
By Reuters Staff SANAA (Reuters) - Paralysed and severely malnourished, seven-year-old Faid Samim lies curled up on a hospital bed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, having barely survived the journey there. "He was almost gone when he arrived but thank God we were able to do what was necessary and he started improving. He is suffering from CP (cerebral palsy) and severe malnutrition," said Rageh Mohammed, the supervising doctor of the Al-Sabeen hospital's malnutrition ward.