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.
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.
The US Embassy in Georgia made a statement, which we offer without change: "The United States is deeply disturbed and exasperated by the unilateral decision of the Georgian Dream party to withdraw from the April 19th Agreement, a document established through six months of difficult but collaborative negotiations, and one that gives an urgently-needed way forward for the Georgian people and their democracy. One hundred fifteen MPs from at least six of nine elected parties signed the Agreement and pledged to work together in good faith to reduce the deep polarization that is impeding Georgia’s democratic progress. Washington is growing increasingly alarmed about repeated setbacks to Georgia’s democratic future.
My expectations from Christian Danielsson's visit to Georgia and from our Western friends and Partners, in generalWednesday, 31 March 2021 12:20
“In principle, the processes developed exactly as during the previous negotiations. The negotiators failed to propose a text that would be acceptable to the Georgian Dream,” Zurab Japaridze, leader of Girchi -More Freedom party, said after a joint meeting between the opposition and government officials.
According to him, the Georgian Dream was not ready to agree to any points in the document and sign it. My expectations from Christian Danielsson's visit to Georgia and from our Western friends and Partners, in general.
The country is in a profound crisis. The economy is practically ruined. The investments have stopped, nobody wants to risk bringing their money in here. On top of that there is COVID-19 pandemic and the worsened security environment in the region. Against this background the Government manages to retain power through taking new multi-billion loans, through spreading propaganda based on lies and through utilizing the security agencies.
The political crisis, which instead of receding, has intensified following the 2020 Parliamentary elections, has acquired catastrophic magnitude as a result of the arrest of the chairman of the largest opposition party, the announcement of the de-facto chair of the ruling party that he was leaving politics and the resignation of the de-facto Prime Minister.
In a situation like this, for any country, which wishes to be perceived as a democracy, there is only one way to resolve crisis – new elections. But Georgian Dream claims that this is a “red line” for them.
In reality, it is not the new elections that are a “red line”. The red line for the Georgian Dream, is the loss of power. They are afraid to lose power as a result of fair elections, not just elections per se. Let’s not kid ourselves- this is the real “red line”.
Against this backdrop and taking into consideration the multitude of serious challenges mentioned above, our Western friends have decided to help us and to assume the role of the mediator between the de-facto authorities and the opposition. For this, they deserve our gratitude, especially the EU and US Ambassadors.
Several rounds of negotiations have ended without any result and now we are all expecting the second visit of the EU Council President’s special envoy, Mr. Daniellson with the hope that we can finally reach some agreement and resolve the political crisis.
However, at this moment it is not at all clear what can possibly happen during the second visit of Mr. Danielsson that will drastically change the dynamics of the negotiations and bring us to the agreement.
That is why, I have decided to publicly state what are my personal expectations as regards this visit and where I see the solution.
In my opinion, the five clauses outlined by the EU Council President indicate very precisely what exactly are the dire shortcomings that Georgia has. Without solving them, any discourse about addressing other issues and external threats, is quite simply, meaningless:
1) Political persecution must end, as using judicial system against the political opponents is incompatible with the Western/European values. Therefore, political prisoners must be set free
2) The courts must be independent and must not be ruled by a clan loyal to any one person or any one party, because such courts are incompatible with Western/European values
3) Power must be shared and the opposition has to be equipped with real tools to have a political impact, because power concentrated entirely in the hands of any one person or any one party is incompatible with the Western/European values
4) The elections should be free and fair, because the situation whereby not a single party or political leader voted for by the half of the voters, recognizes the results of the elections and trusts the electoral administration or courts, is incompatible with the Western/European values. Elections must be conducted in a fully proportional system, with a natural barrier threshold, as this is the only remedy against the existing polarization, as well as against the decades long malicious practice of one-party and one-man rule.
5) When in a deep crisis such as we have today, with all the threats that Georgia faces, the Government should have the sense of responsibility to set the day for new elections. Only authoritarian rulers do otherwise and this is not compatible with Western/European values.
I expect that these will be the messages of Mr. Danielsson during his second visit.
Moreover, I expect that similar messages will be voiced by all our Western friends.
This is the only solution in the current circumstances, because this is the truth.
The attempts to modify or “soften” this truth with messages such as “both sides are responsible for this situation” or “both sides have to find it in them to overcome the differences and come to a compromise” are doomed.
Because this is not the truth.
After the eight-year rule by Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream, I do not understand where is my responsibility when it comes to:
- political persecution of the opposition;
- politicized judiciary managed by a clan;
- election system and administration that are at service of the ruling party;
- concentration of all power in the hands of one man who is not occupying any official position;
- extreme polarization of the political spectrum, the main architect of which is Georgian Dream, which has spent eight years on hate propaganda and has chosen the “middle ground elimination”, as its main political competition strategy at each election.
I also do not understand what can possibly be a compromise, as far as the clauses left by the EU Council President are concerned, except for technical details.
- Leave some control over judiciary to Ivanishvili?
- Allow for somewhat unfair elections, so that GD prolongs its rule?
- Leave all power levers for Ivanishvili and agree to some symbolic changes?
- Disregard all the above and come to terms with the Ivanishvili’s rule for the next four years?
That’s impossible. More than that, to agree to that would be irresponsible, would be equivalent to ignoring the problems and further prolonging the crisis.
Our Western partners have to realize this and therefore change the approach towards the negotiation process.
In the early minutes of March 31, after mediating an eight-hour meeting between the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition parties, Christian Danielsson, EU Council President Charles Michel’s Personal Envoy to mediate Georgia’s crisis, said he was “sad to report that none of the political parties could agree to this solution in whole.”
Danielsson publicized the document he proposed the parties for agreement. While the Georgian Dream and the opposition leaders traded accusations afterward over the failure to strike the deal, it seems the parties largely agreed on the electoral reform, judicial reform, and parliamentary power-sharing points. They failed, however, as expected, to reach a consensus over the release of alleged political prisoners and the issue of future elections.
The opposition’s key demand for snap elections – fiercely rejected by the GD government – was not reflected in the public document. It referred, however, to the prospect for the release and dropping charges against Nika Melia, top opposition leader, by initiating amnesty for June 2019 unrest participants. This passage did not include the release of Giorgi Rurua, pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV shareholder, whom the opposition also regards as a political prisoner.
Danielsson is now expected to update President Michel about the development in the coming days, while it remains unclear whether the EU mediation efforts will continue.
“This is a solution that requires political courage and responsibility,” stated the EU diplomat. Below are the main takeaways of the text Danielsson put forward, that the parties rejected to fully endorse.
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.
“The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has discussed election report prepared by Tini Kox today and reiterated that the elections were competitive and free in Georgia,” Irakli Kobakhidze, the Chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream Party, stated on Monday.
According to him, PACE approved the observation mission’s report, including recommendations.
“This recommendation reflects our will. In particular, to check all violations revealed in this election. That’s why we’ve proposed the opposition to set up a parliamentary commission,” GD Chairman said.
Irakli Kobakhidze stresses that the CoE calls on the opposition to engage in parliamentary work. “We hope the opposition will take these statements into account,” he said.
He also echoed the decision on re-electing him as PACE Vice-President. “I am happy to be approved as PACE Vice-President for the second term in a row,” Kobakhidze added.
Georgia’s major opposition parties, including the United National Movement of ex-President Saakashvili, European Georgia, Lelo, Strategy Aghmashenebeli, Labor Party, hit the streets on Sunday afternoon, rejecting the preliminary results of the October 31 parliamentary vote, that forecast the Georgian Dream to form a third consecutive government.
The opposition claims the Georgian Dream “usurped power,” and rigged the elections, citing, among others, discrepancies in a number of final vote tallies. The key local election watchdogs said they identified the discrepancies in some 7 or 8% of the summary protocols. The opposition politicians argue the united opposition forces garnered more votes in total than the incumbent ruling party.
Protesting the “stolen elections,” the opposition leaders and protesters are rallying towards the hilltop residence of GD leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, after blocking Rustaveli Avenue, the main thoroughfare of the Georgian capital, outside the Parliament.
In the meantime, Gigi Ugulava of the European Georgia party, announced the opposition parties will organize a large-scale rally on November 8.
Georgia held Saturday’s parliamentary vote under a significantly modified system, which changed the composition of 150-member parliament to 120 MPs elected through proportional, party-lists, and 30 elected as majoritarians (from 77/73 ratio) and set threshold at 1% of votes. According to the results of 98.86% precincts counted, Georgian Dream garnered 48,1% of proportional votes, while the United National Movement-led Strength in Unity bloc came second with 27.12%. European Georgia scored third with 3.77%.
Preliminary results also show GD victory in 13 single-mandate constituencies, while runoffs are expected in 17 districts, including in all 8 districts of the capital city of Tbilisi.
MP Irma Inashvili, leader of Kremlin-friendly Alliance of Patriots party, that is at odds with UNM and other opposition parties, also announced that today her party rejects the results, vowing to hold separate rallies.
PACE urges Georgian ruling majority to ensure introduction of election system that can have support and trust of all stakeholdersSaturday, 01 February 2020 12:09
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe addresses the Georgian Dream regarding the electoral system.
In a resolution adopted by the Assembly, the organization calls on the ruling party to provide the kind of electoral system before the 2020 elections that that can have the support and trust of all stakeholders.
“The Assembly urges the Georgian ruling majority to ensure the introduction of an election system that can have the support and trust of all stakeholders in time before the 2020 elections; to fully implement all the recommendations of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) formulated in the opinion on the selection and appointment of Supreme Court judges; to promptly implement the fourth wave of reform of the judiciary and for all political forces in the country to work to overcome the continuing polarisation in the political environment”, reads the resolution.
The resolution adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe summarizes the results of monitoring in 10 countries: Georgia, Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Turkey, Moldova, Serbia and Ukraine.
The ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia Party named Giorgi Gakharia, Minister of Internal Affairs as the candidate for the post of Prime Minister.
Bidzina Ivanishvili, Chairman of Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia Party made the statement after the sitting of the political council and parliamentary majority held at the party’s central office.
Giorgi Gakharia has held the posts of Minister of Internal Affairs and Vice Prime Minister since November 13, 2017. He also serves as Secretary of the National Security Council.
In 2016-2017, Gakharia was the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development. He also held the post of Business Ombudsman in the past.
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze quit the post on September 2. Bakhtadze said that he had completed his mission at this stage.
The renewed cabinet of ministers will require the expression of confidence on part of the Georgian Parliament.
Vakhtang Gomelauri is named as the candidate for post of Minister of Internal Affairs, while Irakli Gharibashvili – as a candidate for post of Defense Minister.
Giorgi Gakharia, the candidate for post of Prime Minister made the statement after the sitting of the political council and parliamentary majority held at Georgian Dream party’s central office.
Levan Izoria, current Defense Minister is presented for post of Secretary of the National Security Council.
Vakhtang Gomelauri currently serves as head of State Security Service. Irakli Gharibashvili is the Political Secretary of Georgian Dream’s Party.
Bidzina Ivanishvili, Chairman of Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia Party named Giorgi Gakharia, Minister of Internal Affairs as the candidate for post of Prime Minister.