A 25-member delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), headed by Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL), will travel to Georgia from 26 to 29 October to observe the conduct of the presidential election alongside observers from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, European Parliament, NATO Parliamentary Assembly and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).
The delegation will meet candidates, the Chairperson of the Central Election Commission, and representatives of civil society and the media, before observing the ballot on 28 October.
A joint press conference is scheduled on Monday 29 October at 2.30 p.m. in the Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel, Tbilisi (location to be confirmed).
Michele Nicoletti (Italy, SOC) was today elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
Taking over from Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus, EPP/CD), he is the 31st President of the Assembly since 1949 and the second Italian to hold this office.
There was only one candidate. Under the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure, the President serves for a one-year term of office, which may be renewed once.
In his inaugural address, the newly-elected President called for increased unity of the Council of Europe “as the only European institution that brings together 47 countries around the values of human rights, democracy, the rule of law and acceptance of its European Court”.
“At a time of great and dramatic challenges – from terrorism to migration, from poverty old and new to mistrust in representative institutions, from the re-emergence of racism and xenophobia to the desperate solitude of so many people – we must offer a response to nationalist and chauvinistic temptations to close ranks, to centrifugal pressures and to conflicts by reasserting the need for peace and justice on our continent,” he said.
” As a pan-European political forum and a statutory body of our Organisation, the Assembly should fully play its role in addressing these challenges. This requires the active involvement of all members and delegations from all 47 member States. In this context, I regret that the Russian Parliament has not put forward a delegation for the 2018 Ordinary Session. Nevertheless, dialogue with Russian parliamentarians – as well as with all other delegations – continues, with due respect to our rules and obligations.”
“This reflection on our identity, which the Assembly will decide how to develop, appears to me to represent an extraordinary opportunity for our institution to reassert forcefully its own role as the guardian of European unity. I strongly believe that all member States of the Council of Europe must participate in this process,” the newly-elected PACE President underlined.
“In performing this task, we must not cease to openly denounce any violation of human rights committed in any part of our continent and by any authority. There cannot and must not be any free zones. However, this defence of human rights will be even stronger if we are able to combine it with an ever increasing unity between our peoples. We must tirelessly seek to emphasise what unites us,” he said.
The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) today elected Lado Chanturia as judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Georgia.
Mr Chanturia, having obtained an absolute majority of votes cast, is elected a judge of the European Court of Human Rights for a term of office of nine years which shall commence no later than three months after his election.
Judges are elected by PACE from a list of three candidates nominated by each State which has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights.
Strasbourg, 10.10.2017 - Stella Kyriakides (Cyprus, EPP/CD) has been elected President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe following the resignation of Pedro Agramunt (Spain, EPP/CD) on 6 October 2017.
She obtained a large majority over the other candidate, Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD), in the third round of voting. She will remain in office until the opening of the next ordinary session (Strasbourg, 22-26 January 2018).
She will be the 30th President of PACE since 1949, the first Cypriot, and the third woman to take up the post.
“This election comes during extraordinary times for this Assembly, times that have seen our credibility and integrity questioned. Times that have led to the often wrong type of publicity for the work done in this Assembly, leading to the questioning of the principles of transparency and integrity of the institutions of the Council of Europe. These are challenges and responsibilities for us all. But mostly, for myself as a newly elected President of this Assembly,” said Ms Kyriakides.
“My decision to run for the Presidency stemmed solely from my firm belief in Parliamentary Assembly, in democracy, human rights and the rule of law and my passion to work tirelessly. Today you have given me the opportunity, with the trust you have placed in me, to work towards these. In the upcoming few months my priority is to bring about calmness, consensus, credibility and unity. To work tirelessly and openly against corruption. To raise the bar so that we all follow the same principles and code of ethics. To do this, I will need the support of all political groups, of the Secretary General and the staff of the Council of Europe. Because this is why we are all here,” she concluded.
Born on 10 March 1956 in Nicosia, Cyprus, Stella Kyriakides studied psychology at Reading and Manchester Universities. At the Cypriot Ministry of Health, she was in charge of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry from 1979-2006. She was elected to the Parliament of Cyprus in 2006, where she is a member of the Committee on Health Affairs and of the Committee on Foreign and European Affairs and Vice-President of the Democratic Rally Party.
President of the First Breast Cancer Movement in Cyprus in 1999, she was appointed by the Ministerial Council as President of the National Committee on Cancer Strategy in 2016. She organised the first breast cancer awareness campaign at the Council of Europe in 2013.
At the Assembly, she was Chairperson of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development as well as a member of the Monitoring Committee and the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination. She was a contact parliamentarian for the “No Hate Parliamentary Alliance” and the Council of Europe campaign against Child Sexual Abuse (2013-2015), as well as the General Rapporteur for Children's Rights (2013-2015). Stella Kyriakides is the Chairperson of the delegation of Cyprus to PACE and a member of the EPP/CD group.
Strasbourg, 06.10.2017 - In a letter, Pedro Agramunt today announced his resignation as President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
A motion for his dismissal had been scheduled for debate at the opening of the plenary session in Strasbourg on 9 October. This debate will not take place.
Following his resignation, the most senior Vice-President of the Assembly, Sir Roger Gale, automatically becomes Acting President. In line with the PACE Rules, he shall act until the election of a new President at the following part-session of the Assembly.
Strasbourg, 06.06.2017 - The co-rapporteurs of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) for Georgia, Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE) expressed their concerns regarding
the alleged abduction and unlawful transfer to Azerbaijan of Azerbaijani journalist Afqan Muxtarli. They urged the Georgian authorities to fully investigate all allegations made in relation to this case and to be kept
abreast of the outcome of these investigations, which they will follow closely.
Strasbourg, 04.06.2017 – “I strongly condemn the terrorist attack yesterday night in the British capital, killing seven people and injuring forty-eight," said Mogens Jensen (Denmark, SOC), Chairperson of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
"My first thoughts go to the victims and the wounded, their families and loved ones," he added. " The perpetrators of this attack have shown no respect for human life and dignity," he said, stressing that "terrorism seeks to destabilise societies by creating tension, fear and panic through violence on innocent people."
"More than ever, we must stand together to oppose hatred," concluded Mr Jensen.
The Political Affairs Committee will hold an exchange of views on “How to prevent extremism and radicalisation leading to terrorism” with representatives of the community of Aarhus in Denmark (who implemented the “Aarhus model") at the meeting Mr Jensen is organising on the Bornholm island on 14-15 June 2017.
The Member of the Parliamentary Delegation, Nino Goguadze delivered the speech at PACE Session. She spoke about importance of activity of the Committee against Torture and the latest changes to the penitentiary system of Georgia.
“The European Committee against Torture is a very effective CoE instrument for prevention of torture and inhuman treatment in member states. The CAT has played the paramount role in terms of significant changes and improvement in European countries. In case of Georgia, the CAT reports and recommendations were of utmost importance in transformation of punishment-oriented system into modern penitentiary system”.
As she noted, Georgia will further cooperate with CAT.
“Georgia has achieved significant improvement in this term, especially in penitential system which was noted and the achievements and positive changes have been emphasized in my speech. It is important that we continue cooperation with this institution and the recommendations and reports thereof regarding Georgia become more and more positive. Georgia fulfills assumed obligations”.
The Parliamentary Delegation holds the meeting with the Secretary of Venice Commission, Mr. Thomas Markert. The Head of the Delegation, Ms. Tamar Chugoshvili introduces the information about the final edition of the draft Constitutional reform of Georgia
“We will provide the Secretary of Venice Commission with the information about the final version of the draft Constitution and the final agreement achieved within the Commission and about the future process, our plans about public considerations. The final draft will be submitted to Venice Commission in the nearest days”, - she stated.
The Parliamentary Delegation serves the visit to Strasbourg to attend PACE Spring Session.
The Member of the Faction “Georgian Dream” Dimitri Tskitishvili on behalf of the Majority held the meeting with PACE Monitoring Committee Rapporteurs, Boriss CILEVIČS and Kerstin Lundgren.
The parties touched upon ongoing political processes in Georgia, including the Constitutional changes, judicial reform etc. The guests asked about openness and involvement of the opposition and civil society in these processes and openness of the Majority for cooperation. The parties resumed the primary issues of the visit.