The US Congress Delegation to visit Georgia
On February 24-26, the US Congress Delegation will serve the visit to Georgia. The Delegation headed by the Congressman Peter Roskam will visit the Parliament on February 25 to meet with the Chairman, Irakli Kobakhidze. Mr. Roskam and Mr. Kobakhidze will make the joint statement.
The meetings are as well planned with the EU Integration, the Foreign Relations, the Defense and Security, the Budget and Finance and the Procedural Issues and Rules Committees, as well as with the Minority leaders. The Congressmen will hear about the legislative activity, ongoing issues and challenges.
The Congressmen accompanied by the spouses, will have a tour in Tbilisi Parliament. The Delegation will be composed of the Congressmen: Peter Roskam (Illinois), David Price (North Caroline), Gerry Connolly (Virginia) and Adrian Smith (Nebraska).
Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava resigns
Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava stepped down from his post, Georgian Dream Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze announced on Friday. The Education, Science and Culture Committee Chair, MP Shalva Papuashvili, will be nominated as the new speaker of the state legislature.
Giorgi Amilakhvari, first deputy of the Education, Science and Culture Committee, will replace Sh. Papuashvili, I. Kobakhidze noted. GD Chair also said that MPs Anri Okhanashvili and Irakli Chikovani would join the party’s political council.
"A sitting of the party's political council was held today, where several important personnel issues were discussed. Kakha Kuchava, the Speaker of the Parliament, made a decision to resign. Kakha himself will explain the reason for the decision. On behalf of the Georgian Dream political team, I thank him for his proper service as the Speaker of the Parliament during very difficult period. Kakha's decision is, of course, disappointing for the whole team, but we respect this decision. Therefore, the decision was taken into account by the party's political council. Kakha will remain one of the leaders of our political team, a member of the party's political council, and he will work on a state-important project, about which we will share detailed information later. According to the decision of the political council of the party and the parliamentary majority, Shalva Papuashvili will be nominated for the position of the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia. Shalva does not need a special presentation. I remind you that he is a doctor of law, he has defended his dissertation in Germany. For years he worked in international organizations, as a professor at universities. To date, Shalva has been a successful chair of the Education and Science Committee," said I. Kobakhidze.
Public Defender Responds to Threatening Statements Made by Georgian Dream Chairman
The Public Defender of Georgia would like to respond to the statement made by Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the Georgian Dream political movement of citizens, in which he speaks about the possible responsibility of the Public Defender and doctors invited by her. This rhetoric goes beyond the legal framework, represents an attempt to attack and intimidate an independent constitutional body and its experts, and contradicts national and international human rights obligations.
The Organic Law on the Public Defender of Georgia gives the Public Defender the authority to invite experts and specialists to perform expert activities. This very authority was used by the Public Defender of Georgia on November 16, 2021 and a multidisciplinary group of experts was set up to evaluate Mikheil Saakashvili's medical services. Since then, the Chairman of the Georgian Dream political movement has been referring to "possible future responsibility" of the Public Defender and the experts invited by her without any legal arguments, for some abstract reasons. The above represents an attempt to put pressure on representatives/experts of the Public Defender of Georgia due to expression of their professional views, which is contrary to both the Constitution of Georgia and international principles.
We call on the United Nations, Council of Europe, OSCE/ODIHR, diplomatic missions accredited in Georgia and ombuds/NHRI associations to study the above issue and assess it within their mandates. Contrary to the Paris Principles (https://bit.ly/3HzC8NK), the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on national human rights institutions (https://bit.ly/3DuL1G1) and the Venice Principles (https://bit.ly/30ve39L), the Public Defender of Georgia encounters obstacles in the implementation of her mandate, while experts may refuse to cooperate with the Public Defender in the future.
Once again, we would like to thank the qualified and conscientious medical professionals who managed to make an assessment in a short time. We also call on the relevant professional associations to support these persons.
"Georgian Dream" nominates Irakli Gharibashvili for premiership
The ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party has officially nominated incumbent Defense Minister and previously Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili for the prime ministerial post, GD Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze announced after the meeting of the GD political council on Thursday.
Kobakhidze believes Gharibashvili would successfully lead the Cabinet.
“Irakli Gharibashvili is one of the GD leaders, former Interior Minister, Prime Minister, and current Defence Minister. Paramount reforms were implemented under his management. He is a professional with outstanding experience who can successfully head the government,” Kobakhidze stated.
Earlier today, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia announced his resignation following the court ruling to arrest the Head of the United National Movement opposition party Nika Melia. Gakharia said he failed to reach an agreement with GD over Nika Melia’s case.
Meeting of Irakli Kobakhidze with Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe
The Majority Leader, PACE Vice-President Irakli Kobakhidze met with Andreas Kiefer, Secretary General of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe to discuss the cooperation between Georgia and the Council of Europe.
The conversation also touched upon the implemented and ongoing reforms in Georgia, as well as the importance of further strengthening self-government and regional policy.
The parties reaffirmed their commitment for further cooperation.
"Georgia was a very active presiding country of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and the cooperation with various actors was excellent. Last year, the President of the Congress served a very fruitful visit to Georgia. We held high-level meetings where we were briefed on the results of the decentralization reform and the following steps. The Congress is interested in continuing the dialogue and we are pleased that the Georgian Parliamentary Assembly's delegation includes people who know what local and regional democracy means. The bridge between the Congress and the Parliament of Georgia will be the Vice President of the Congress, Tamar Taliashvili. We look forward to cooperating next year as well", - A. Kiefer stated after the meeting.
According to T. Taliashvili, the Secretary General of the Congress supports the ongoing reforms in Georgia.
"The Congress of the Council of Europe is the most important organization on the continent of Europe, researching and working on issues related to democracy and the rule of law in self-government. Therefore, the full support of the Secretary of this organization in connection with the ongoing reforms in Georgia is very important for our country. There will be local self-government elections in Georgia this year and the readiness of this very important organization to be a participant in these processes is one of the most vital and advanced steps for the development of local democracy in our country", - T. Taliashvili remarked.
According to G. Khojevanishvili, the Parliament of Georgia will cooperate even more actively with the Congress.
"The support of a high-ranking official such as the President of the Congress of the Council of Europe is extremely important. We had a very business meeting, we talked about important issues such as decentralization, further strengthening of self-government, strengthening of regional policy and support, so we are actively going to work more closely with the Congress in the future", - G. Khojevanishvili commented.
The meeting of Irakli Kobakhidze with the CoE Secretary General
The parties touched upon the political processes in Georgia and overviewed the scheduled legal changes.
“The Secretary General congratulated Irakli Kobakhidze with the chairmanship of the party. She is well informed about the political processes in Georgia and hoped that the next session will be attended by our Delegation in full composition, including the opposition MPs as at the PACE session so in the Parliament of Georgia. We discussed all the issues we intend to undertake and she expressed her strong support. Mme. Burić is informed about our plans, including our intention to submit the application for the EU membership in 2024. She is as well aware of the legal changes adopted in summer, which were widely hailed. She also approved the scheduled legal changes aiming at further improvement of the electoral system and achievement of the agreement in this regard”, - the Head of the Delegation, Kakha Kutchava noted.