Georgia (Sakartvelo): Personal details for the entire country of Georgia published online | Catalin Cimpanu/ZDNet

The personal details for more than 4.9 million Georgians, including deceased citizens, has been published on a hacking forum over the weekend, on Saturday. Personal information such as full names, home addresses, dates of birth, ID numbers, and mobile phone numbers were shared online in a 1.04 GB MDB (Microsoft Access database) file. The leaked data was spotted by the Under the Breach, a data breach monitoring and prevention service, and shared with ZDNet over the weekend. The database contained 4,934,863 records including details for millions of deceased citizens — as can be seen from the screenshot below. Georgia’s current population is estimated at 3.7 million, according to a 2019 census. It is unclear if the forum user who shared the data is the one who obtained it. The data’s source also remains a mystery. On Sunday, ZDNet initially reported this leak over as coming from Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC), but in a statement on Monday, the commission denied that the data originated from its servers, as it contained information that they don’t usually collect.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): U.S. and Allies Blame Russia for Cyberattack on Republic of Georgia | David E. Sanger and Marc Santora/The New York Times

The United States and its key allies on Thursday accused Russia’s main military intelligence agency of a broad cyberattack against the republic of Georgia in October that took out websites and interrupted television broadcasts, in a coordinated effort to deter Moscow from intervening in the 2020 presidential election in the United States. The accusation, issued by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, was particularly notable at a time when President Trump has been seeking to shift blame for interference in the 2016 election from Russia to Ukraine, a central element of his impeachment trial last month. Russian military intelligence, known as the G.R.U., was one of the agencies implicated in the cyberoperations aimed at interfering in that election and in a 2017 attack that struck major companies around the world, including Merck, Federal Express and Maersk. That attack is considered one of the most destructive and expensive in history, causing billions of dollars in damage.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Georgians demand new polls after ‘bought’ election | Al Jazeera

Thousands of Georgians have staged a mass protest over the results of the country’s presidential runoff vote, alleging widespread electoral fraud and demanding snap parliamentary elections. About 25,000 opposition supporters demonstrated in the capital, Tbilisi, on Sunday, days after the former Soviet nation elected its first woman president, Salome Zurabishvili. An independent candidate backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, Zurabishvili claimed almost 60 percent of the vote to beat the opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze on Wednesday. But opposition leaders including Vashadze have refused to accept the result, pointing to instances of alleged vote-buying, voter intimidation and ballot-stuffing in the election’s second round.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Thousands in Georgia protest against presidential election results | Reuters

Thousands of Georgians protested in the capital Tbilisi on Sunday against the result of the country’s presidential election, as defeated candidate Grigol Vashadze said opposition parties would challenge the outcome in court. Vashadze has described the election as a “criminal farce” and has called for snap parliamentary elections after the central election commission said on Thursday that Salome Zurabishvili, who was backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, had secured 59.5 percent of the vote. Vashadze had 40.5 percent, it said. “We don’t recognize illegitimate results of this rigged election and demand an early parliamentary election to be called in the country,” Vashadze told thousands of supporters at Sunday’s rally in Tbilisi. Zurabishvili is set to become the country’s first female head of state, although the role is largely ceremonial.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Georgians set to vote in hotly contested presidential runoff | Associated Press

Two of Georgia’s former foreign ministers are facing off against each other Wednesday in a tight runoff that will mark the last time Georgians elect their head of state by popular vote. Georgia, a nation of nearly 4 million people in the volatile Caucasus region south of Russia, is transitioning to a parliamentary republic. Presidential powers have been substantially reduced with the prime minister becoming the most powerful figure in the country. After the new president’s six-year term ends, future heads of state will be chosen by delegates. …Though the election lacks the usual importance, it is seen as a crucial test for the ruling Georgian Dream party which is led and funded by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili who made his fortune in Russia.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Election Commission: Georgia presidential vote goes to second round runoff | GDN

Georgia’s presidential election will go to a second round runoff between two of the country’s former foreign ministers after no single candidate won outright in the first round of voting, the country’s Central Election Commission (CEC) said on Monday. After all the votes from Sunday’s first round of voting had been counted French-born former diplomat and foreign minister Salome Zurabishvili had secured 38.7 percent of the vote, while Grigol Vashadze, also a former foreign minister, had won 37.7 percent of the vote, the CEC said. With neither managing to get more than 50 percent of the vote necessary to win outright, a runoff between Zurabishvili and Vashadze will now be held sometime between now and Dec. 2.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Presidential Election Heading To Runoffs, Initial Results Suggest | RFE/RL

Neither of the two front-runners in Georgia’s presidential election was likely to win enough votes to secure victory in the first round of voting, the first officials results show. The Central Election Commission (CEC) said that according to results from 14 percent of the polling stations, Salome Zurabishvili secured 40 percent of the vote and Grigol Vashadze won nearly 38 percent. Zurabishvili, a French-born former foreign minister, has the backing of the ruling Georgian Dream party. Vashadze, also an ex-foreign minister, is running for the opposition United National Movement (UNM). Their closest challenger, former parliament speaker Davit Bakradze, who was nominated by the opposition European Georgia party, was a distant third with 10.8 percent of the votes.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Ex-foreign ministers in close presidency race | Al Jazeera

Georgians voted in presidential elections on Sunday, with two former foreign ministers as the frontrunners for the largely ceremonial office. French-born Salome Zurabishvili is projected to be elected with 52.3 percent of votes, according to the exit polls funded by the ruling Georgian Dream party that is backing her, with anti-corruption Grigol Vashadze of the main opposition party expected to secure only 28.1 percent. But later on Sunday, the speaker of the parliament from the ruling party, Irakli Kobakhidze, said at a news conference that the results from 1,000 polling stations suggested that there would be a second round. Fifty percent plus one vote is needed to win the first round.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Georgia’s Rose Revolution Recedes Into Russia’s Shadow | Bloomberg

Georgia’s Rose Revolution, one of the most dramatic and hopeful episodes of the post-Cold War era, will mark its 15th anniversary in a matter of weeks. For 20 days in November 2003, citizens flooded the streets of Tbilisi and other major cities to protest a stolen election. By the end of the month, a strongman had resigned and a new Georgia was born. At the time, most Western observers saw these protests and elections as a triumph of the liberal, democratic world order. Today, as the gains of 2003 erode, this former Soviet republic is in danger of becoming a cautionary tale. I was able to assess the matter for myself this week on a trip to Tbilisi for a conference aptly titled “The World Upside Down.” It’s a mixed picture. On the one hand, there are genuine opposition parties and a free press. Most urban Georgians consider themselves European, and most of their politicians still openly say they want to join NATO. When the leader of the Rose Revolution, Mikheil Saakashvili, stepped down as president in 2013 after losing an election, another important milestone was reached with the peaceful transfer of power.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Central Election Commission tests electronic voting systems | Agenda

The Central Election Commission of Georgia has tested electronic machines for vote-counting during the Zugdidi by-elections yesterday. Electronic voting machines (EVMs) use a keyboard, touch-screen, mouse, pen or other electronic device to allow voters record their votes electronically. DREs are used in polling stations. The system captures the voter’s choices and stores an electronic record of their vote in the machine. The data captured is then transmitted by either electronic means or manually.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Tbilisi Condemns Illegal Elections and Referendum in Breakaway Tskhinvali | Georgia Today

Official Tbilisi condemns the presidential election and referendum held on 9 April 2017 in occupied Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) Region of Georgia. Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has released an official statement, saying any elections or referendum in the occupied territories of Georgia are illegal and cannot have any legal effect. “This provocative act by the Russian occupation forces grossly violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia and represents yet another attempt to legitimize the consequences of several waves of ethnic cleansing, military invasion and ongoing occupation of Georgian regions,” the statement reads. The MFA says that holding the referendum on changing the name of one of the oldest Georgian regions into “Republic of South Ossetia — State of Alania” is aimed at laying the ground for its illegal annexation.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): South Ossetia Says Bibilov Leads Vote In Election Condemned By Georgia, U.S. As ‘Iillegitimate’ | RFERL

South Ossetia’s election officials say Anatoly Bibilov, the speaker of the breakaway Georgian region’s parliament, has taken the lead in a presidential election that was rejected by Tbilisi and condemned as “illegitimate” by the United States. The election commission on April 10 said Bibilov had 48.7 percent with 35 percent of votes counted, Russian state-run TASS news agency reported. A candidate needs 50 percent to avoid a runoff on April 23. Turnout was reported at 81 percent. TASS quoted Bibilov as claiming he had won 54.9 percent of the vote, avoiding the runoff. The news agency said 78 percent of voters supported a referendum to change the region’s name to “Republic of South Ossetia – State of Alania,” a move also condemned by Georgia and the United States.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): EU, Georgia Shun ‘So-Called Elections’ In Breakaway Abkhazia | RFERL

The European Union says it will not recognize what it described as “so-called ‘elections'” conducted on March 12 by Russia-backed separatists who control Georgia’s Abkhazia region. Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, said on March 13 that the EU “supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia, as recognized by international law.” She added that “the European Union does not recognize the constitutional and legal framework in which these elections have taken place.”

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Foreign Ministry Says Elections In Abkhazia Are Illegal | RFERL

Georgia says legislative elections held by Russia-backed separatists who control the breakaway Abkhazia region were illegal. The Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned the March 12 voting in the Black Sea region as “yet another attempt to legitimize the ethnic purge, military intervention, occupation, and results of Russian aggression being carried out against Georgian statehood.”

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Ruling party in Georgia wins constitutional majority after vote run-off | Reuters

Georgia’s ruling party decisively won a second round of voting on Sunday, giving it more than three quarters of seats in parliament, enough to change the constitution if it wants, data from the Central Election Commission showed on Monday. The result cements Georgian Dream’s already firm grip on power in the ex-Soviet nation and is a crushing defeat for the opposition United National Movement (UNM) and its founder, former president Mikheil Saakashvili, a regional governor in Ukraine who has spoken of a possible return to his homeland. Georgian Dream, which came to power in 2012, is pro-Western but also favors closer ties with Russia, while the UNM is strongly pro-Western.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Many irregularities in second round of Georgia’s election for parliament | Democracy & Freedom Watch

In parts of Georgia, voters went to the polls again on Sunday in the second round of the parliamentary election. There were runoff contests in 50 single-seat districts, accounting for a third of the seats in the assembly. Voting took place against a background of some minor and a few serious irregularities. The outcome of today’s vote will decide if the election winner in the first round, Georgian Dream, will get enough seats to have what’s called a constitutional majority and usher in a ban on same-sex marriage and limit the president’s powers. The number of precincts open for voting was 2,229. Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA), said that by 14:00 their observers had noticed different types of violations. The Tbilisi-based organization filed 33 complaints and 25 notices today. There is tension in the village Kizilajo in Marneuli, where the results of the first round were abolished due to a riot-like incident. Georgian Dream and National Movement candidate are competing in this region.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Ruling party in Georgia decisively wins parliament vote | Reuters

The ruling party in Georgia decisively won parliamentary elections, firming its grip on power in the former Soviet nation, near-complete results showed on Sunday. With 99.41 percent of the votes in, data from the Central Election Commission gave the ruling Georgian Dream party 48.61 percent of the vote and the opposition United National Movement (UNM) 27.04 percent. A U.S. ally traditionally buffeted between Russia and the West, Georgia hopes to join the European Union and NATO one day even though that is something that Russia, its former colonial master, strongly opposes. With political stability still fragile — the first peaceful transfer of power since the 1991 Soviet collapse only took place four years ago – the authorities were keen the election be widely seen as free and fair to avoid a return to the days when politicians tried to seize power by force.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Georgian Dream Wins Parliamentary Election, Exit Poll Shows | Bloomberg

Georgian Dream won parliamentary elections, retaining power by edging the party of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, an exit poll showed. Georgian Dream received 39.9 percent of the vote in the former Soviet republic, compared with 32.7 percent for United National Movement, according to a survey by the polling company GfK. A second poll by TNS gave Georgian Dream almost 54 percent to UNM’s 19.5 percent. Preliminary results of Saturday’s ballot will be released through the night. For single-member districts where no candidate captures a majority, a runoff will be held in two weeks. Georgian Dream swept to power in 2012 elections, six months after being formed by reclusive billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, ending the UNM rule that had started in the 2003 Rose Revolution. Over the past year, the government struggled to contain a currency crisis, which kept voters focused on the economy as it reeled from the impact of the Ukrainian conflict and Russia’s slide into recession. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who ascended to the post less than 10 months ago, is promising to rev up growth in the next decade.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Election in Ex-Soviet Georgia Seen as Test of Stability After Violence | VoA News

A close parliamentary election in Georgia on Saturday is being seen as a test of stability in the ex-Soviet state after a car bombing and a shooting marred the runup to the vote. Crisscrossed by strategically important oil and gas pipelines and traditionally buffeted between Russia and the West, a fifth of Georgian territory remains under the control of pro-Russian separatists and the economy is emerging from a deep slowdown, which has crimped living standards. Opinion polls suggest the ruling Georgian Dream party, which is funded and controlled by the country’s richest man, is likely to win. But they also show strong support for the opposition United National Movement (UNM) and suggest many voters are undecided. “No one can be sure who the winner will be, but the vote is expected to be free and fair,” said Thomas de Waal, a Caucasus expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Election Commission Bans Anti-Western Party From Elections | Georgia Today

Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) revoked the registration of the Industrialist-Our Homeland bloc for the upcoming October 8 parliamentary elections, according to an announcement published on the CEC’s website. According to CEC Head Tamar Zhvania, the bloc missed the deadline for submitting its list of parliamentary candidates. The leadership of the Industrialists slammed the CEC’s decision, saying it was an unfounded decision aimed at marginalizing the party. The party’s leaders said they have already appealed to Tbilisi’s City Court.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Election Committee Disqualifies Pro-Russian Centrist Party | Georgia Today

Georgia’s Central Election Commission (CEC) Chair Tamar Zhvania announced Tuesday that the controversial pro-Russian Centrist Party has been barred from taking part in the upcoming October Parliamentary Elections following the party’s release of a campaign ad promoting integration with Moscow. Zhvania said the party’s leadership had failed to legally register themselves and would be barred from running in the October polls. “The Centrists’ leadership is not legal, therefore I signed a decree cancelling the registration of the party,” said Tamar Zhvania at a special briefing.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Opposition candidate wins in Abkhazia early presidential poll | RT News

Abkhaz opposition leader Raul Hajimba has won in the country’s early presidential election with about 50 percent of votes, preliminary results say. The poll was held in Abkhazia after the previous head of state resigned following anti-government protests. According to preliminary data announced by Abkhazia’s Central Election Commission, Hajimba is winning with 50.57 percent of votes and is followed by Aslan Bzhania, who garnered just under 36 percent of votes.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Abkhazia′s dilemma: no future without Russia | Deutsche Welle

Abkhazia didn’t feature much in the headlines in recent years. The small territory on the eastern coast of the Black Sea separated from Georgia in a bloody conflict in the early 1990s. In 2008, it declared itself an independent state following the five-day Russo-Georgian War. Since then, there has been speculation about whether (or when) Russia, which supports Abkhazia financially and has troops stationed there, will take over the territory – especially since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in March. The protests in May of this year led to the resignation of President Alexander Ankvab and the scheduling of an election for August 24, 2014, adding further complexity to the existing situation. But how likely is Abkhazia to strive for closer ties or even unity with Russia following the vote? According to various observers, Abkhazia, unlike Crimea, is not a target of Russia’s expansionist ambitions.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Abkhazia holds presidential elections amid Ukraine turmoil | Europe Online

The Black Sea region that broke away from Georgia more than 20 years ago might serve as a prime example of Russia‘s ability to impose its will on its neighbours through separatist movements. The Georgian breakaway province of Abkhazia is holding snap presidential elections on Sunday that might not pass unnoticed. Russia‘s annexation of Crimea and its covert military support for the insurgents in eastern Ukraine reminds many of the war in the early 1990s that led to Abkhazia‘s secession from Georgia. But the ouster of president Alexander Ankvab, who quit on June 1 after protesters stormed his administration building in the regional capital Sukhumi, also reminded observers that the lush subtropical region has its own unresolved problems.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Abkhazia’s parliament votes for early presidential elections | Reuters

The parliament of Georgia’s breakaway region of Abkhazia has voted to hold early presidential elections in August, a deputy said on Saturday, in a move denounced by the prime minister as “revolutionary” after the opposition seized control. On Tuesday protesters broke into the capital’s presidential headquarters and opposition leaders formed a Provisional National Council in the Russian-backed province, which they say is now under their control since President Alexander Ankvab fled the capital.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Council of Europe recommends Georgia improve electoral legislation | Trend.Az

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) issued a report on the Georgian presidential elections held in 2013. The report also included some recommendations. PACE special commission established that the presidential elections held on October 27, 2013 “were held effectively, transparently and conducted in a peaceful and constructive atmosphere. Fundamental rights of expression, movement and assembly were protected and the candidates were able to conduct their election campaigns without restrictions. Just a year after the parliamentary elections, Georgian citizens have once again demonstrated their political maturity in a peaceful atmosphere through the election administration. These elections are an important achievement for the country and the entire South Caucasus”.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Ruling coalition candidate Margvelashvili leads in Georgia’s presidential election | RT News

Georgian Dream party’s Georgy Margvelashvili from ruling coalition is leading in the presidential election in Georgia with 62.07 percent of the vote, the central election commission announced with around 95 percent of the vote counted. David Bakradze, who is supported by outgoing president Mikhail Saakashvili, is second with 21.76 percent, and former parliament speaker, Nino Burdzhanadze, is third with 10.2 per cent.  Earlier Imedi TV’s exit polls suggested that Margvelashvili was leading in the presidential election in Georgia with about 68 per cent of the vote. Bakradze was placed second with 17.11 per cent and Burdzhanadze third with 9.33 per cent.  An exit poll, performed by German GFK Company for Rustavi 2 channel, also gave a landslide victory to Margvelashvili on 66.7 percent, with his rivals Bakradze and Burdzhanadze having 20.1 and 7.5 per cent respectively.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Uncertainty over Prime Minister’s role after Georgian election | UTSanDiego.com

After this weekend’s election, when Georgia’s eccentric billionaire prime minister looks out from his futuristic residence high above the capital, he is all but certain to be the undisputed leader of this U.S.-allied country. And then, once his chosen candidate is installed as president, Bidzina Ivanishvili insists it will be time to step down. Ivanishvili, 57, is a lean man who exudes the confidence that comes from a self-made fortune and the belief that he has saved his country from the perceived sins of the outgoing president, Mikhail Saakashvili. In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Ivanishvili insisted that he will not try to run the government of this former Soviet republic from behind the scenes. But as Georgia’s richest man, he will retain enormous influence, and how he intends to use it remains one of the biggest questions in the country today. “Of course I will have influence on politics and the government, as every citizen will, but my influence will be bigger,” he told the AP. “But this will be healthy influence, and in no way will it happen from behind the curtains.”

Georgia (Sakartvelo): Did the Devil Go Down to Georgia in a Smart ID Card? | EurasiaNet.org

Everyone can sigh with relief. Georgia’s justice officials say they are not in league with the devil and have no plans to assist the Antichrist to take over the world. In a bizarre public-service announcement, Georgia’s Justice Ministry on April 20 announced that new, biometric ID cards for Georgian citizens are not a satanic creation. “The assumption that the new ID card is the seal of the Antichrist and that it contains the sign of the beast is not correct,” explained an earnest young man in a video produced by the ministry.

Georgia (Sakartvelo): President Saakashvili concedes election defeat | latimes.com

Mikheil Saakashvili, the pro-Western president of Georgia faced with increasing protests among his people, conceded defeat Tuesday after preliminary election returns showed the opposition had won control of parliament and the right to name a powerful new prime minister. In a televised address, the 44-year-old leader acknowledged that the Georgian Dream coalition led by tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili had won, and said his own United National Movement would become the opposition. “You know well that the views of this coalition were and still remain fundamentally unacceptable for me,” he said, “but democracy works in a way that allows the Georgian people to make a decision by a majority.” With nearly half the ballots counted by Tuesday afternoon, the Central Election Commission reported that Georgian Dream had 54.1% of the vote to 41% for Saakashvili’s movement.