Georgian parliamentary speaker Irakli Kobakhidze resigned from his post
Georgian parliamentary speaker Irakli Kobakhidze resigned from his post on June 21 following overnight clashes between police and demonstrators outside of the parliament in Tbilisi.
A statement on Kobakhidze's resignation was read out to journalists in Tbilisi on June 21 by Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze, the secretary-general of the ruling Georgian Dream party, after a meeting of the party leadership.
Although Kobakhidze was standing in the briefing room while the statement was being read out to journalists, he left the room without making any comment.
Georgian opposition leaders earlier on June 21 vowed to return to the streets of Tbilisi on the evening of June 21 to call for the resignations of I. Kobakhidze and Georgia's interior minister.
Demonstrators also are demanding early parliamentary elections in response to the political crisis that has erupted following the overnight violence.
Grigol Vashadze, chairman of the United National Movement party, called for demonstrators to gather for a rally beginning at 7 p.m. local time near the parliament building where the clashes occurred overnight.
Irakli Kobakhidze was elected as the Speaker of the Parliament on November 18, 2016.
MP Archil Talakvadze is expected to replace I. Kobakhidze.
The farewell meeting of Irakli Kobakhidze with the Chinese Ambassador
The Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze held the farewell meeting with the Chinese Ambassador, H.E. Ji Yanchi.
The parties discussed bilateral relations and development of cooperation. As noted, economic and people-to-people bonds have been significantly enhanced recently between Georgia and China.
The Speaker thanked the Ambassador for contributing in enhancement of bilateral relations.
The Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia refers to the ongoing so-called parliamentary elections in occupied Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, which blatantly violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within its internationally recognized borders. Any so-called elections held in the occupied territories are illegal and cannot have any legal effect, as they are in contradiction with the fundamental norms and principles of international law.
The above so-called elections represent yet another futile attempt by Russia and its occupation regime in Tskhinvali to legitimize the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, the illegal occupation and forceful change of sovereign borders of Georgia. The so-called parliamentary elections are taking place in the context, when internally displaced persons and refuges, forcibly expelled from the occupied territories, continue to be deprived of the possibility to return to their homes, and while the people on the ground are forced to live under violations of basic human rights and freedoms. At the same time, the Russian Federation continues its military build-up, control and de-facto annexation of the occupied territories, in full disregard of the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to give a due assessment to the ongoing so-called parliamentary elections in the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, and calls upon the Russian Federation to fulfill undertaken international obligations and withdraw its military forces from Georgia’s territory.
Georgia hosts the high officials from the US Congress
Tbilisi hosts the high officials from the US Congress within the USA-Georgia Educational and Cultural Exchange Program.
The meetings will be held with the Speaker, H.E. Irakli Kobakhidze, the Firs Vice Speaker Tamar Chugoshvili, members of the Foreign Relations Committee, representatives of the Factions “European Georgia”, “National Movement” and “Patriots of Georgia”, as well as the Secretary General Givi Mikanadze and the Chief of the Speaker’s Cabinet, Nikoloz Samkharadze.
The meeting is as well scheduled with NGOs and with the Foreign Affairs Minister, David Zalkanianiand the Deputy Head of EUMM, Kate Fearon.
The guests will visit the Vaziani Military Base and meet with the Fist Deputy Defense Minister, Lela Chikovani.
The program includes the visit to the Tserogani IDP Settlement and the administrative border in the village Didi Khurvaleti.
The Delegation will as well visit the Richard Lugar Public Health Research Center and the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health.
The visit envisages the meeting with the Director of the Office of the Millennium Challenge Account-Georgia, Magda Magradze and the visit to the cultural monuments and historical sites of Georgia.
The Delegation leaves on June 1.
Irakli Kobakhidze: we expect the Venice Commission opinion regarding the bill tomorrow to allow us fully reflecting all respective recommendations as for Friday
“We expect the Venice Commission opinion regarding the bill tomorrow to allow us fully reflecting all respective recommendations as for Friday”, - the Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze commented about the bill on selection of the judges.
He spoke about the process noting that the ruling party wanted to adopt the bill with the II reading 2 weeks ago as the Supreme Court encounters complications.
“There are 10 judges in the Supreme Court now to be reduced to 8 in June. There will be only one judge for the criminal cases and one for the administrative cases. If we take to key directions – the Supreme Court will have one judge per directions which is associated to certain problems. All in all, these certain problems are related to the rights of certain people. For instance, due to the only one judge in the Criminal panel, the people will have to remain in the preliminary detention for more than 2-3 months, or due to the only one judge in the Administrative panel, people will be unable to restore their violated rights or regain the paid fines etc. Naturally, the fate of the thousands of the citizens shall not be put to the risk if we can to rapidly consider this bill. We introduced our schedule to the Venice Commission about our intention to adopt the bill 2 weeks ago. We were told that it would be impossible. We considered their recommendation and extended the term for 2 weeks, however, we reserved that the Parliament would adopt the bill no later than April 19 which the Venice Commission considered acceptable and pledged to issue the opinion for Tuesday to give us time enough for consideration of their recommendations prior to the plenary session”.
He expects the positive opinion and noted that the bill by the ruling party is not only in compliance with the legal procedures but exceeds the minimal legal standards.
“Naturally, the expectations about the Venice Commission opinion is positive and optimistic as the Venice Commission submits its expert opinion regarding the bill. If simply speaking, if the bill provided the only record that the Council of Justice nominates the candidates, as it was provided in the preceding version, and the Parliament approves the candidates, such regulations are approved in many countries including in EU. And if this record solely is provided in the law, it would be sufficient enough to ensure compatibility with the legal principles. But we did much more. And Venice Commission will confirm that it is 100 times more than the minimal standards. It means that the bill is not only in compliance with the legal procedures we have established but 100 times more than the minimal legal standards”.
He echoed the decision of the Public Defender to apply the competence within the Rules of Procedure and deliver the report to the Parliament regarding the procedures of election of the judges.
“The Rules of Procedure fails to envisage participation of the Public Defender in the legislative activity in this manner. Correspondingly, it is impossible. Pursuant to the Rules of Procedure, the reporter, to be the MP in this case, shall speak followed by the co-reporter, also MP, as well as the representatives of the Parliamentary subjects. Participation of the Public Defender is not envisaged under the Rules of Procedure”.
Urgent debate on the role and mission of the Assembly
Adopting its final agenda at the opening of the 2019 Spring Session, the Assembly decided to hold an urgent debate on the theme “Role and mission of the Parliamentary Assembly: main challenges for the future”. The Assembly holds its session in PACE from 8 to 12 April 2019, with addresses by the Prime Ministers of Armenia and Georgia.
Joint debates will be held on stopping hate speech and acts of hatred in sport - as well as the role of political leaders in combating hate speech - and on strengthening co-operation with the UN and implementation of its Sustainable Development Goals.
Other topics to be discussed include promoting parliaments free of sexism and sexual harassment, the implications for human rights of social media, and a report on balancing the rights of parents, donors and children during the anonymous donation of sperm and oocytes.
The Assembly will also look at so-called “laundromats” and new challenges in combating organised crime and money laundering, and will take a stand on the creation of a new EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights will present her annual activity report for 2018 and take questions, while there will be the usual exchange of views with the current head of the Council of Europe’s ministerial body, Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Timo Soini, and question time with Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.