The Christmas tree is up in Tbilisi's Republic Square, and the festive season in Georgia has now officially started,
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze was on hand, together with prime minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, to switch on the lights on Saturday evening (22 December). A European style Christmas Market will be operating around the tree as from Tuesday.
Many Georgians hope that the Christmas spirit will give a respite from a difficult and unpleasant political atmosphere that has hung over Georgia for months as the country struggled to elect its president, a process that dragged on for weeks since a second round was necessary. Whilst Georgians have over the last three decades become hardened to political intrigue, the vitiriolic exchanges between government and opposition in the last weeks have left many with a distinct bad taste.
The end of the year is always a good time to take stock, and Georgians hope their politicians will learn lessons from 2018, which they will not repeat in 2019.
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photo: New year and Christmas celebrations kicked off in Georgia on Saturday, 22 December, with lthe switiching on of lights on a huge Christmas tree on Tbilisi's Republic Sqaure
The website of the Armenian government said that Nikol Pashinyan and Mamuka Bakhtadze "emphasised the importance of Armenian-Georgian relations in all spheres and expressed confidence that further active cooperation will promote the development and expansion of cooperation between the two neighbouring and friendly states in a number of directions".
Addressing the Council meeting in Geneva, ahead of the vote on Friday (22 March), Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Lasha Darsalia, said that the recent death of Irakli Kvaratskhelia whilst in detention in Abkhazia highlighted the urgency of the matter.