Vote on 2 October was a missed opportunity for local democracy in Georgia, says Head of Congress delegation
Strasbourg, 4 October 2021 - The Congress concluded its mission to observe the local elections held on 2 October in Georgia. David ERAY (Switzerland, EPP/CCE, R), Head of the delegation, underlined the extremely polarized political environment in the country as well as an increase in verbal aggression, hate speech and fake news on social media during the campaign. “This polarisation had a paralyzing effect on local democracy which, in fact, has been taken hostage of the overall national political situation. Against this background, this poll was a missed opportunity for local democracy in Georgia”, Mr Eray stated. The overall unlevel playing field, pressure on voters and vote-buying were further features of these elections which raised concern of the Congress delegation.
Further to the invitation by the Georgian authorities, the Congress carried out an election observation mission from 29 September to 3 October 2021 and observed the local elections held on 2 October as part of a joint international election observation mission together with the OSCE/ODIHR and the European Parliament. The Congress mission comprised 18 members representing 15 Council of Europe countries who observed elections in 9 regions of Georgia, visiting in total some 120 polling stations from the opening until the closing.
The Election Day was overall calm, orderly, transparent and well organised. Except for some inconsistencies, particularly regarding the set-up of polling booths and finger-inking, the Congress observers did not notice major shortcomings during the voting procedures. Some polling stations in urban areas, mostly in Tbilisi, were comparatively small considering the large number of commission members and domestic observers and thus over-crowded. This led also to some confusion about the different roles of election workers, notably during the counting. Some of the Congress observers also reported violations of the new regulation on the 100-meter-perimeter around polling stations.
Although new regulations were put in place to increase number of women on candidate lists by placing at least one in every three candidates of the opposite gender on the ballot, this legal provision proved insufficient as women were almost always placed as the third, sixth or ninth candidate, thus having much lower chances to get elected than their male counterparts. “In our opinion, this was against the spirit of the law”, Mr Eray stated.
Prior to the Election Day, the Congress delegation held meetings in Tbilisi with various interlocutors, including representatives of the diplomatic corps, domestic and international NGOs, media representatives, the Central Elections Commission and with the Deputy Minister of Justice and Head of Inter-Agency Task Force for Free and Fair Elections, Mr Tornike Cheishvili. Meetings with representatives from different parties including GD, UNM, For Georgia and European Georgia rounded off the preparatory programme of the Congress. The Congress report will be presented at the next Monitoring Committee and adopted during the 42nd Congress Plenary in March 2022.
2023 Winter session: the legal and human rights aspects of Russia's aggression against Ukraine
An urgent debate* on the legal and human rights aspects of the Russian Federation's aggression against Ukraine, with the participation of Oleksandra Matviichuk, Head of the Center for Civil Liberties, 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, will be among the highlights of the Winter plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), to be held in Strasbourg from 23 to 27 January 2023.
#OnTheRoadToReykjavik, a report on the fourth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, to be held in the Icelandic capital on 16 and 17 May, will present PACE's proposals.
There will also be addresses by the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrin Jakobsdóttir and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. The Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić will present her communication to PACE members. The Assembly will also elect its President and Vice-Presidents.
Combating violence against women will also be a focus of the session, with a first debate on conflict-related sexual violence, and a second joint debate on the Istanbul Convention, on the role and responsibility of men and boys in stopping gender-based violence against women and girls, and on finding solutions for marital captivity.
Other topics on the agenda include the environmental impact of armed conflict, Daesh foreign fighters and their families returning from Syria and elsewhere, and the ethical, cultural and educational challenges of contact tracing applications.
* The Assembly will decide its final agenda at the opening of the session.
Two Georgia v. Russia interstate cases: Committee of Ministers says Russia must execute the European Court’s judgments, despite its exclusion from the Council of Europe
Strasbourg, 09.12.2022 – The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers has deeply deplored again the absence of response of the Russian authorities to its earlier appeals to implement the Georgia v. Russia (I) judgment from the European Court of Human Rights concerning the arrest, detention and collective expulsion of Georgian nationals in 2006-2007, and strongly exhorted the Russian authorities to pay the long-overdue just satisfaction. The Committee has also urged the Russian authorities to start executing the judgment in the case Georgia v. Russia (II) related to the armed conflict in Georgia in 2008.
In the Interim Resolution (*) published today on the Georgia v. Russia (I) case the Committee of Ministers recalled that, despite ceasing to be a member of the Council of Europe on 16 March 2022, the Russian Federation is still required to implement judgments of the European Court, and the Committee of Ministers continues to supervise their execution.
According to the European Court’s judgment of January 2019, Russia inter alia had to pay to the Georgian government 10 million euros in respect of non-pecuniary damage suffered by a group of at least 1,500 Georgian nationals. The Committee deeply deplored the continued absence of the information from the Russian authorities and reiterated again its most profound concern that the payment of the just satisfaction and default interest accrued has not been made despite the passage of over three years since the deadline for payment expired on 30 April 2019.
The Secretariat of the Committee of Ministers will create and publish a register of just satisfaction owing in all inter-state cases against the Russian Federation and will keep it regularly updated as regards the default interest accrued so that both the issue and the sums due can remain under close public scrutiny.
The Committee of Ministers has also adopted the Interim Resolution on the second interstate case, Georgia v. Russia (II). The European Court’s judgment on this case has become final in October 2021 and concerned various violations in the context of the armed conflict between Georgia and the Russian Federation in August 2008.
The Committee has urged again the Russian authorities to submit to the Committee of Ministers a plan on the execution of this judgment and to investigate the serious crimes committed during the active phase of hostilities as well as during the period of occupation. It has firmly reiterated again its profound concern about the inability of Georgian nationals to return to their homes in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and its insistence that the Russian Federation, which has effective control over these regions, ensure without delay safe return of persons wishing to return to their homes. The question of just satisfaction in this case remains pending at the Court.
The Committee of Ministers will restart the examination of the execution of both cases in March 2023.
(*) An Interim Resolution is a form of decision adopted by the Committee of Ministers aimed at overcoming more complex situations requiring special attention.
GLOBALink | Symposium held to foster understanding of key CPC congress
BEIJING, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Diplomatic envoys to China, think tank experts and journalists from nearly 80 countries exchanged their views on the guiding principles of the recently concluded 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) at a forum on Wednesday.
The symposium titled "Hong Ting Forum: Understanding the 20th CPC National Congress" was jointly hosted by the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee and Xinhua News Agency at the Museum of the Communist Party of China in Beijing.
Speaking at the forum, Qu Qingshan, president of the Institute of Party History and Literature of the CPC Central Committee, said the pivotal CPC congress reviewed the work of the past five years and the great transformations seen in the first decade of the new era, laid out the Party's missions and tasks on its new journey of the new era, and outlined the development goals and major policies of the Party and the country for the next five years and beyond.
Think tank exchanges are important because they provide a platform for the international community to comprehend the new concepts, domains and expressions pertaining to the CPC's history and theories, thereby paving the way to gain a deeper understanding of China, its people and the Party, said Qu, who is also chairman of the National High-Level Think Tank Council of the institute.
Fu Hua, president of Xinhua News Agency, shared his insights on the milestone CPC congress. The report to the 20th CPC National Congress is a political declaration and a program of action for the Party to bring together the Chinese people of all ethnic groups and lead them in securing new success for socialism with Chinese characteristics, Fu said when addressing the forum, adding that the report serves as a window for the world to understand China.
To comprehend the 20th CPC National Congress, it is imperative to gain a profound understanding of the Party's new theories, its distinctive character featuring self-confidence and self-reliance, as well as the global vision the CPC has maintained, said Fu, who is also director of the Academic Committee of New China Research of Xinhua News Agency.
The agency will continue to boost its global communication capabilities, better convey the stories of China, the CPC and the new era, and serve as a bridge connecting China and the rest of the world, Fu said.
The opening of the forum was presided over by Lyu Yansong, editor-in-chief of Xinhua News Agency and deputy director of the Academic Committee of New China Research.
Other participants also exchanged their insightful perspectives both online and offline on topics covering the key role of the Party, Chinese modernization and China's fine traditional culture.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service
China Focus: Senior officials explain key report at Party congress
BEIJING, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- The report of the 19th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), adopted at the recently concluded 20th CPC National Congress, serves as a political manifesto and a guideline for action to achieve new victories on socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era, a senior official said Monday.
Jiang Jinquan, director of the Policy Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, at a press conference held in Beijing said it is a crystallization of the collective wisdom of the CPC and the people, born from a process embodying intraparty democracy and whole-process people's democracy.
The report will have profound and significant influences on the cause of building a modern socialist country in all respects and advancing national rejuvenation on all fronts, and will help the international community better understand the CPC's governing philosophy, its approach to governance and its ability to govern, he said.
The report has a special section on theoretical innovation. It has elaborated what the CPC has done and plans to do to integrate the basic tenets of Marxism with China's particular realities and fine traditional culture, said Sun Yeli, vice head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, at the same press conference.
The report also explained the worldview and methodology of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, Sun said.
China is firmly opposed to other countries imposing their own development model on China, and will never "export" the Chinese model or ask other countries to "copy" China's practice, Sun said.
The report places the "quality of development" in a more prominent position and underscores high-quality development in various aspects, including economy, society, culture and ecology, said Mu Hong, deputy head of the Office of the Central Commission for Deepening Reform and deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission, at the press conference.
It confirms high-quality development as the top priority for building a modern socialist country, and such confirmation shows why the quality of development is important to the overall picture and in the long run, Mu said.
RULE OF LAW
An entire section of the report is dedicated to the rule of law, reflecting the great importance the CPC Central Committee attaches to the matter, said Chen Yixin, secretary general of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, at the press conference.
It is a political declaration of the CPC to advance law-based governance in all respects and a programmatic document for the CPC to advance the rule of law in China, said Chen.
The report provides a comprehensive explanation of the role, overall requirements and key tasks of the rule of law, Chen noted.
FULL, RIGOROUS SELF-GOVERNANCE OF THE PARTY
The report has put forth the idea of improving the systems for exercising full and rigorous self-governance, marking a first for a report at the Party national congress, said Tang Fangyu, deputy head of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee, at the press conference.
In light of the major risks and grave challenges facing the Party, full and rigorous self-governance of the Party should be exercised in a holistic, systemic, continuous manner and with high-caliber, said Tang.
Therefore well-structured, scientific, well-rounded, unified and efficient systems will be formed for exercising full and rigorous self-governance, Tang added.
The report urges the whole Party to bear in mind that full and rigorous self-governance is an unceasing endeavor and that self-reform is a journey with no end, said Wang Jianxin, chief of the publicity department of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Commission of Supervision, at the press conference.
Noting the remarkable achievements of the anti-corruption fight over the past decade, Wang said the situation still remains grave and intricate, and the battle against corruption is fierce and must be won.
The strategic plans rolled out in the report should be implemented, and an unstoppable anti-corruption momentum should be sustained to ensure that officials do not have the audacity, opportunity or desire to become corrupt, said Wang.
Xi Jinping attends group discussion with delegates from Guangxi to 20th CPC National Congress
BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Comrade Xi Jinping on October 17 joined a group discussion with delegates from Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region who are attending the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). During the discussion, he stressed that the report to the Party's 20th National Congress further charts the way forward for the cause of the Party and the country, and it will serve as a political manifesto and guide for our Party to unite and lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics on the new journey in the new era.
Xi said that, to study and implement the spirit of the Party's 20th National Congress, we need to have a good command of the importance of the work of the past five years and the great changes in the first decade of the new era, of the worldview and methodology of the Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, and of our mission to advance the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through a Chinese path to modernization. We should also keep firmly in mind the important requirement of using the great transformation of our own to navigate the great social transformation and the call of the times for us to strive in unity. The entire Party and all the Chinese people need to unite as "one piece of adamantine iron" under the banner of the Party and stay committed to the same goal in mind and action to steer the giant ship of our great rejuvenation, braving winds and waves, toward its destination.
Five delegates of the Guangxi delegation -- Liu Ning, Lan Tianli, Zhou Jiabin, Zhu Xuelan and Zheng Zhiming -- gave their opinions on the report to the congress based on reality and their own experiences. They gave speeches respectively on issues of striving to follow the Chinese path to modernization in Guangxi, fostering a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, preserving the landmark natural landscape in Guilin, developing agricultural industries with local characteristics, and deepening efforts in independent innovation. They all believe that the report to the 20th CPC National Congress, from a commanding height in considering both China's national rejuvenation and global changes of a magnitude not seen in a century, scientifically lays out goals, tasks, and major policies for developing the cause of the Party and the country in the next five years or even longer period to come, putting forward a series of new approaches, strategies and measures. It will serve as a guiding document for us to build China into a modern socialist country in all respects and realize the second centenary goal. They expressed unanimous support for the report.
In a lively atmosphere, Xi exchanged views with delegates. Having listened attentively to them, Xi said that he was happy to join the discussion as a delegate of the Guangxi delegation. He extended his sincere greetings to all delegates present and over 2.5 million Party members as well as 57 million officials and residents of different ethnic groups in the region.
Xi noted, since the 18th CPC National Congress in 2012, the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Regional Committee of the CPC and regional government have implemented the CPC Central Committee's decisions and plans, and united and led the people of all ethnic groups in the region in promoting the Five-Sphere Integrated Plan and the Four-Pronged Comprehensive Strategy in a coordinated manner. Facing the grave challenges of global changes of a magnitude not seen in a century and the once-in-a-century COVID-19 pandemic, the regional Party committee and government have led the region in winning the critical battle against poverty, building a moderately prosperous society in all respects together with the rest of the nation, and bringing the comprehensive strength of the region to new heights. As a result, reform and opening up in the region has been deepened comprehensively, ecological system improved continuously, people's living standards raised considerably, and both urban and rural areas have taken on a new look. Great changes have taken place in Guangxi, which can find expression in deepened strict Party governance, solid ethnic unity, sound social stability and border security. These achievements represent successful practices of the Party's ethnic policies and the system of regional ethnic autonomy in the southern border region, vividly reflecting the great transformation over the past 10 years of the new era in our country.
The past five years and the first decade of the new era have been truly momentous and extraordinary in the development of the Party and the country, stressed Xi. As a Chinese saying goes: "One can't tell how hard it is to get things done unless he is fully engaged; a success may look easy but it takes painstaking efforts." In the past 10 years, by overcoming various hardships as if wading across treacherous waters, climbing over steep slopes and breaking through tough barriers, we have made a series of breakthroughs and milestone achievements in the cause of the Party and the country. Practices have proved that the CPC Central Committee's major principles and policies since the Party's 18th National Congress are absolutely correct, and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is a right way leading to sound and steady progress. It conforms to the realities of China, reflects the will of the Chinese people, and meets the requirements of the times. We must gain confidence and initiative from history, and present an "excellent answer sheet" to the people and the future on the new journey ahead.
Xi pointed out that in order to implement the Party's innovative theories, we need to gain a good command of their worldviews and methodology as well as make good use of their stances, viewpoints, and methods. The report to the 20th CPC National Congress stressed that we should always put the people first, maintain self-confidence and stand on our own feet, and constantly uphold fundamental principles and break new ground. We should also adhere to a problem-oriented approach, apply systems thinking, and maintain a global vision. Only through conscientious study and implementation of the above six points can we obtain a deep understanding of the reason, rationale, and philosophy governing these innovative theories. We should not only know their meaning, but also grasp their essence and carry them out in the whole process of the Party and the country's work on all fronts, noted Xi.
Xi stressed, in the new era, the Party has developed a deeper understanding, more mature strategies and richer practices for building a modern socialist country, and thus successfully advanced and expanded the Chinese path to modernization. The report to the 20th CPC National Congress elaborated on the characteristics and essential requirements of the Chinese path to modernization, Xi said. Taking deep root in China, the Chinese path to modernization is in line with our national conditions. We must always pursue the development of the country and the nation by relying on ourselves, take our country's destiny of development and progress firmly in our own hands, strengthen our confidence, uphold fundamental principles and break new ground so as to write a new chapter of building China into a modern socialist country in all respects.
Xi pointed out, since the 18th CPC National Congress, the CPC Central Committee has maintained its resolve and exercised full and rigorous self-governance in the spirit of "spending 10 years grinding a sword." Driven by a strong sense of mission, we have resolved to "offend a few thousand rather than fail 1.4 billion" and waged an unprecedented battle against corruption, thus forging a synergy in the Party's self-reform, said Xi. Exercising full and rigorous self-governance is a journey to which there is no end; the Party's self-reform is a ceaseless pursuit. We must persist in carrying out self-reform of the Party so as to ensure that it will never change its nature, its conviction, or its character and that the Party is always the firm core leadership guiding the cause of Chinese socialism.
Xi stressed, only in unity and through strenuous effort can we succeed. Since the 18th CPC National Congress, our Party has firmly relied on the people to stabilize the economy and boost development, fight against absolute poverty and build a moderately prosperous society, contain COVID-19 and resist other major disasters, as well as tackle challenges and defuse crises. We have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and created impressive miracles one after another. The most important task at hand is to roll up our sleeves and work hard to put into action the major decisions and arrangements made at the 20th CPC National Congress and produce tangible results.
Xi hoped, under the guidance of the spirit of the 20th CPC National Congress, Party committees and governments at all levels in Guangxi will unite and lead officials and the people of all ethnic groups to fully and faithfully apply the new development philosophy on all fronts, resolutely implement the decisions and plans of the CPC Central Committee, and do a better job in promoting high-quality development of the border ethnic area. They should make greater breakthroughs in serving and integrating into the new development pattern, achieve greater progress in pursuing green development, contribute more to safeguarding national security, bring about more results in exercising full and rigorous self-governance of the Party, and strive to open up new prospects for building a magnificent Guangxi in the new era.