PACE discussing the Report by the Observation Mission on the Parliamentary Elections 2020 in Georgia

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 27 January 2021 11:37

The PACE opened the winter sessions with the agenda including the Report by the Observation Mission on the Parliamentary Elections 2020 in Georgia, introduced by the Head of the Mission, Tiny Kox.

The discussion was attended by the Parliamentary Delegation of Georgia. It is noteworthy that it is a final report to be submitted to the international organizations.

As Mr. Kox stated, the elections in Georgia were competitive with the returns not subject to any doubt. He called on the Georgian opposition forces to commence the Parliamentary activity.

As the international observers presume, the elections were competitive and the fundamental freedom was adhered to. The legislative changes in Georgia adopted in close cooperation with and by the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe facilitated in the formation of the legal frame. 48 parties were running for the election and 10 of them were elected. The ruling party did not make a clear line during the campaign with the state and the second problem is that other parties opted to boycott the Parliamentary activity. The co-rapporteurs made the statements and called on the political parties to start the Parliamentary activity. It was reasonable advice. I also would like to join the call to the dialogue”.

The Head of the Parliamentary Delegation to PACEKakha Kutchava stated that the ruling party is committed to cooperating with every party to ensure the improvement of the standards of the administration of the elections.

“The municipal elections are scheduled in 2021 in Georgia and our political party is committed to cooperating with every party concerned to ensure the consideration of the recommendations, introduce changes to the legislation and improve the administration of the elections”, - he noted.

He thanked the observers for arriving in Georgia to observe the electrons despite the global pandemic and stated that the Georgian Government truly strived to ensure the compliance of the elections with the international healthcare standards and recommendations.

He noted that despite the mostly positive assessments, the election process detected the gaps. He affirmed the commitment to respond to these gaps and underlined the importance of the engagement of the international partners.

We hail the mostly positive assessments made by the international society clearly underlining that “Parliamentary Elections of October 31 were competitive and the fundamental freedoms were adhered to”.

Despite this, a series of gaps have been still detected. We appreciate the report by Mr. Kox and affirm our commitment to adequately respond to the gaps identified by his mission, including the financing of the electoral campaign, which is the subject of interest of PACE and international monitors after the Presidential Elections 2018. Engagement of our international partners in this process is very important and we expect certain recommendations”.

The opposition parties shall as well participate, he noted: “Our international partners keep calling on the Georgian opposition to start the Parliamentary activity and we hope the opposition will not reject their mandates granted to them by 800,000 electors and will move the democratic process from the streets to the Parliament as there is no evidence or the basis to put the election returns under doubt. Minor confusion was entailed from the simultaneous count of votes, which served as the main argument for the opposition, though in 1.5 months the observation mission recognized the PVT-related gaps”, - he added and responded to the statements by some speakers and underlined that unfortunately, we often deal with disinformation: “I would like to assure you that unfortunately, we often become the victims of disinformation in the XXI century. None of the candidates have been detained, especially two weeks earlier. As to the statement by the local NGOs that these were the worst elections, let me note that in 1.5 months they made the official statement about their mistake regarding the simultaneous count”.

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  • Performance Report of Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia for 2022

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Let me greet you all! First of all, I wish to thank you all for being here today. I wanted to report back to our society and you. Once again, it is a great honor to be here. We have all been through a very challenging time and the Government, along with Parliament and society at large were engaged in the management of this process. Ultimately, our country has exited victoriously at this point in time.
    Initially, I wish to start with an overview of the region. Unprecedented challenge and crisis is faced on the continent of Europe. War in Ukraine is, of course, a huge challenge to us all. It has made a voluminous impact on the continent of Europe itself and our region and our country – everyone and global politics.
    It may be said that the entire world is experiencing a huge challenge, which has not been witnessed since WWII. We understand it well and it is a tremendous challenge. Therefore, it requires very prudent management. We pursue our policies accordingly. From day one, we are following the right policy and have been implementing it since then. I have said it many times and it is a shared approach of our team that we should be predominantly guided by the best interests of our country. We have been acting with this key motivation and idea, by pursuing the policy needed for our people in the first place and our national interests.
    Once again, I wish to state that we are very concerned with this war. I wish to once again demonstrate my support to the Ukrainian people, wishing them peace and quick ending of this war. We reiterate our support for the sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. I once again wish to note that this war needs to end as soon as possible.
    Meanwhile, I wish to once again remind our public that during the pandemic, as well as in the post-pandemic phase, our country combatted a number of challenges. You may well remember that our country was not yet out of the pandemic, when the devastating war started, which gave rise to major problems of course. Nevertheless, with our joint efforts, we – together with our team, Parliament and authorities at large – managed to achieve a 10% economic growth for the second year in a row. This achievement and abundance is, of course, translated into the benefit of our people and reflected on our country, people and society.
    I wish to touch upon the main development of the year, which is a decision made by the EU on granting the European Perspective to Georgia, which was hard to imagine before. This war has accelerated the process. We understand it well. I wish to note that we were expecting the candidacy status, but we understand that it was only a political decision, rather than being a merit-based one. Georgia thus did not receive the candidacy status, though we believe that it will be granted to our country very soon. Reasons for thinking this way are the developments and successful reforms that we have all implemented, along with 12 recommendations defined for our country, implemented with high precision with engagement of us all – government, parliament, all of us. We are now expecting a decision to be made by our European colleagues. I wish to remind our society hereby that every achievement, every progress made in the past 10 years on the path of European integration is great merits to our team only – be that the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, DCFTA, Visa-Free Travel Arrangement and now an official application for EU membership with European Perspective granted to our country – all of these are great merits to the Georgian Dream!
    Now as for the economy, I wish to report on several specific results. First of all, let me repeat again that we are thrilled that economic growth will be 10% this year again. Last year it was 10.5%. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Per Capita in 2020 – for comparison – was around 4200 USD. It grew in 2021 and this year is expected to be about 6700 USD. Our forecast for 2023 will reach 8000 USD.
    Economy of our country in 2020 was around 50 BLN GEL, while it will be 80 BLN GEL in 2023, i.e. we have achieved a growth of 30 billion in 3 years. You may agree that it is quite significant progress. However, we understand that this pace should not stop and more needs to be done with greater responsibility, higher speed. We should continue with our progress and reforms.
    External Debt – for your information – was increased to 60% of GDP in 2020, while we succeeded in reducing it to 39% in 2022 and it will further decline next year and reach 38%. External Debt volume has been reduced by over 22% within 2 years. During the pandemic – you may recall – the budget deficit was very high at 9.3%. When I was appointed as the Prime Minister of Georgia last year, it was reduced to 6.1% and later – this year – to under 3%. Next year it will be 2.8%, which is also a considerable progress. I wish to thank everyone [engaged in this process].
    Now, as for the export indicators: you may be aware that in the past 2 years we substantially increased exports from the country. Jan-Nov (11 months of 2022) data evidence that it has been increased by 32%, amounting to over 5 BLN USD. Domestic exports increased by 21%, amounting to 3.4 BLN USD. Trade volumes in Jan-Nov (11 months of 2022) reached 17 BLN USD, which – compared to the previous year – evidenced a 32% increase. I wish to hereby note that trade volume in the first 10 months of the year exceeds the annual indicator of the previous one.
    Tourism has recovered at a high speed. It could be said that it recovered completely. We have more room to increase it further next year. Proceeds from tourism amount to 3.2 BLN USD.
    I wish to note herewith that transportation of cargo by road, rail and other means is record-high amounting 25 billion tons, which is almost 20% higher than the respective indicator of the previous year.
    Dear Friends, it was a positive year for the foreign direct investments (FDI) as well. Indicator for 2022 increased by 100%, amounting to about 1.7 BLN USD during the first 10 months of the year. If we compare this indicator with that of 2021, the increase will be 100%, as I told you already, and 72% in contrast with 2019. I wish to note that the share of the EU in the FDI is 47%.
    Poverty and unemployment, naturally, is our main challenge for our government in the country. Our declared policy is to overcome poverty and reduction of unemployment in the most efficient manner. Q3 of the year stood out in this context as well. Unemployment level dropped to the historic minimum and amounted 15.6%. I also wish to tell you that 229 000 new jobs were created within 2 years – from Q2 of 2021 through Q3 of 2022. Thus, 229 000 people got employed within almost 2 years, out of which 209 000 jobs were created in the private sector and you may be aware that several months ago we launched a program of public works, which envisaged the employment of socially vulnerable, but otherwise capable individuals. Over 30 000 socially vulnerable people got employed in the past 6-7 months. Resources are wide-ranging as you may well be aware that 200 000 individuals in the country are regarded as socially vulnerable, but otherwise capable individuals. Our aim is to get them all employed both in the public and private sectors.
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    The Parliamentary Delegation, headed by the Chair of the Defense and Security Committee, Irakli Beraia held the bilateral meetings within the NATO PA sessions.

    According to the administration of the Parliament of Georgia, Georgian MPs met with the representatives of Sweden, Finland, Turkey and Estonia and dwelt on the regional security and security challenges of Georgia, the Russian war against Ukraine, the Russian occupation and its consequences, as well as the conventional and hybrid threats that Georgia encounters.

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