Georgian PM announces resignation

Bakhtadze thanked Bidzina Ivanishvili, the billionaire head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, widely believed to be calling the shots in Georgia, for his “support and confidence.” (File/AFP)
Updated 02 September 2019

Georgian PM announces resignation

  • Georgian media reported that the powerful interior minister Giorgi Gakharia could become the next prime minister
  • Bakhtadze said he took the decision to resign as he thinks he has accomplished his mission

TBILISI: Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze announced his resignation on Monday, sparking speculation about his successor in the country recently rocked by anti-government protests accusing the authorities of ties to Russia.

“I took the decision to resign from my post as I think that at this stage I’ve accomplished my mission,” Bakhtadze wrote on Facebook. Bakhtadze, who has been in office since June 2018, also thanked Bidzina Ivanishvili, the billionaire head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, widely believed to be calling the shots in Georgia, for his “support and confidence.”

Georgy Volsky, a lawmaker in Georgia Dream, told Russia’s Interfax news agency that the party was holding talks on its candidate for premier and would make an announcement on Tuesday.

“So far we can’t talk with 100-percent certainty about future changes in the makeup of the government,” Volsky said. Georgian media reported that the powerful interior minister Giorgi Gakharia could become the next prime minister.

In late June thousands rallied in Tbilisi in demonstrations sparked when a Russian MP gave a speech in the Georgian parliament, a hugely provocative move for two countries whose ties remain strained after a brief war in 2008.

The rallies evolved into a broader movement against Ivanishvili amid widespread anger at his party’s failure to kick-start a stagnant economy. Moscow reacted to what it called “Russophobic” protests by suspending direct flights between the countries.

Bakhtadze’s predecessor as prime minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, had stepped down after two-and-a-half years in power amid mass protests that exposed a dramatic drop in his government’s popularity.


India celebrates Republic Day with military parade

Updated 26 January 2020

India celebrates Republic Day with military parade

  • Schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route

NEW DELHI: Thousands of Indians converged on a ceremonial boulevard in the capital amid tight security to celebrate the Republic Day on Sunday, which marks the 1950 anniversary of the country’s democratic constitution.
During the celebrations, schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route, followed by a military hardware display.
Beyond the show of military power, the parade also included ornate floats highlighting India’s cultural diversity as men, women and children in colorful dresses performed traditional dances, drawing applause from the spectators.
The 90-minute event, broadcast live, was watched by millions of Indians on their television sets across the country.
Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest for this year’s celebrations.
He was accorded the ceremonial Guard of Honor by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the sprawling presidential palace.
Bolsonaro joined the two Indian leaders as the military parade marched through a central avenue near the Presidential Palace.
At the parade, Bolsonaro watched keenly as mechanized columns of Indian tanks, rocket launchers, locally made nuclear-capable missile systems and other hardware rolled down the parade route and air force jets sped by overhead.
Apart from attending the Republic Day celebrations, Bolsonaro’s visit was also aimed at strengthening trade and investment ties across a range of fields between the two countries.
On Saturday, Modi and Bolsonaro reached an agreement to promote investment in each other’s country.
Before the parade, Modi paid homage to fallen soldiers at the newly built National War Memorial in New Delhi as the national capital was put under tight security cover.
Smaller parades were also held in the state capitals.
Police said five grenades were lobbed in the eastern Assam state by separatist militants who have routinely boycotted the Republic Day celebrations. No one was injured, police said.
Sunday’s blasts also come at a time when Assam has been witnessing continuous protests against the new citizenship law that have spread to many Indian states.
The law approved in December provides a fast-track to naturalization for persecuted religious minorities from some neighboring Islamic countries, but excludes Muslims.
Nationwide protests have brought tens of thousands of people from different faiths and backgrounds together, in part because the law is seen by critics as part of a larger threat to the secular fabric of Indian society.