Representatives of the parliamentary opposition met with members of the PACE Monitoring Committee. As "News Day Georgia" was told in the parliament administration at the meeting, the MPs informed the guests about the current political situation in the country and dwelt on the ongoing political processes in the Parliament.
Special attention was attached to the issues covered by the Charles Michel Document and the steps to be taken in this direction. The parties put a spotlight on constitutional changes, the current situation in the judiciary, and the need for changes in this direction.
Opposition MPs briefed the members of the Committee on amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses.
The parties touched upon the situation in Ninotsminda and the media environment in the country.
Ana Buchukuri (Party “For Georgia”), Giorgi Vashadze (“Strategy Aghmashenebeli”), Alexander Rakviashvili (“Girchi”) participated in the meeting.
Irakli Garibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia met the Monitoring Committee Members from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Meeting was focused on the close and productive cooperation between Georgia and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and its importance.
Discussion was centered on the current political position and upcoming local elections. It was noted that authorities of Georgia stand ready to ensure the free and fair setting for holding the elections. A number of reputable international observation missions are already invited to the elections.
The Head of Government of Georgia expressed his gratitude to the co-rapporteurs of the Monitoring Committee from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the support demonstrated in the process of democratic reforms in Georgia. Challenging situation in the occupied territories of Georgia was discussed at the meeting and the role of the support extended by the Council of Europe in the peaceful resolution of the conflict was highlighted. Prime Minister of Georgia profoundly acknowledged the firm support of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) towards the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia within the internationally recognized borders, thereby noting that authorities of Georgia highly regard the Consolidated Report of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe titled as a Conflict in Georgia, as well as supporting resolutions made by the Parliamentary Assembly towards Georgia.
Delegation from the Monitoring Committee of PACE included Titus Corlatean, Co-Rapporteur (Romania, SOC); Claude Kern, Co-Rapporteur (France, ALDE) and Bas Klein, Deputy Head of Secretariat.
Press Service of the Government Administration
The first meeting of the Delegation was held with the Speaker, Kakha Kutchava. The current political processes in the country were discussed at the meeting. Emphasis was placed on the importance of enforcing the Charles Michel document, electoral and judicial reform.
Within the 2-day visit, the PACE members hold the meetings with the Parliamentary Delegation to PACE, Chair of the Legal Issues Committee Anri Okhanashvili, Chair of the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee David Songulashvili, Majority Leader Irakli Kobakhidze, Parliamentary opposition and the members of the Faction “Lelo – Partnership for Georgia”.
The PACE Delegation is composed of Titus Corlățean – Romanian “Socialist Democratic Party”, Claude Kern – French “Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe”, and Bas Klein - Deputy Head of the Monitoring Department at PACE.
The Parliamentary Delegation attending the consideration of the Report by the PACE Monitoring CommitteeWednesday, 27 January 2021 11:29
The Parliamentary Delegation participates in the PACE winter sessions with the agenda including the Annual Report providing the outcomes of monitoring in 2020. The report provides the assessments about the progress of the countries subject to the monitoring or participating in the post-monitoring dialogue.
The member of the Delegation, Irakli Chikovani thanked the rapporteurs and members of the Monitoring Committee for their efforts and stated that after accessing the CoE, Georgia has been through a significant transformation.
In 2020, Georgia achieved the culmination of this process and assumed the presidency of the Committee of Ministers.
“I believe that against the pandemic, we left our trace and enriched the CoE agenda. Our priority issues – human rights and environmental protection – were widely supported, including from the presidency candidate states”, - he noted and added that the democracy is not static but envisages higher aspiration to protection and engagement and thus, Georgia in cooperation with its partners, keeps the planning of its European way.
“I would like to attract your attention to the new agenda of the ruling party – “Building the European State” and which is a strategic stage for Georgia to make the application for the EU membership in 2024”.
The ruling party managed to establish the system to ensure the most inclusive and multi-party Parliament in the history of Georgia: “As the report provides, the Constitutional reform followed the acute opposition, though we managed to form the system leading to the most inclusive and multiparty Parliament in history of Georgia. Despite the gaps, the international observation missions concluded that the elections 2020 were competitive and the fundamental freedoms were adhered to, where the political parties were free to hold their campaigns. Some of the refractory opposition parties adhering to the principle “everything or nothing” refused to accept their mandates. At the same time, we understand that we need to keep our way and we are committed to undertaking more reforms and investigate each accusation through the Parliamentary Fact-Finding Commission”.
As he noted, the report underlines the situation on the occupied territories of Georgia: “A couple of days ago, not so far from this place, in European Court of Human Rights, Georgia celebrated one of the greatest victories in its modern history – as the ECHR decided, Russia is legally responsible for the gross violation of the international law and human rights in Russia-Georgia August war 2008 and after the war. We, Georgians, as Europeans believe that the strong principles of the international law will win and human rights will be protected”.
The member of the Delegation, Tamar Taliashvili stated that the report also provides the progress of Georgia in 2020 and concerns the political developments of 2019.
“We fully share the concern expressed in the report entailed with the fact that some radical opposition parties boycott the Parliament while the election returns allowed them to ensure the Parliamentary oversight. As the report provides, the term includes the period when Georgia re-proved that the Georgian democratic institutions are committed to addressing the challenges and the ruling majority is ready to hold the political dialogue, including with the radical opposition. As a result, the “Georgian Dream” has initiated the Constitutional changes leading to a more balanced political system, which facilitated the Parliament to be more diverse and pluralist. As to the Parliamentary Elections 2020, the report underlines its competitiveness and protection of fundamental freedoms, as well as the freedom of the political parties to hold their campaigns”.
According to her, the monitoring report, along with the positive assessments, also provides the recommendations for further progress: “The ruling party made a public statement about its decision to adopt the electoral reform providing the recommendations by the international observation missions. We fully share the concern expressed in the monitoring report entailed with the fact that that some radical opposition parties boycott the Parliament while the election returns allowed them to ensure the Parliamentary oversight. I also would like to take advantage and thank the EU and US Ambassadors for their positive contribution to the political dialogue. Also, let me underline the importance of your statement about the ongoing occupation of two regions of Georgia. The report reflects the condemnation of the gross human rights violations, which was enhanced by the ECHR's recent decision on August war 2008. I also would like to stress the importance of this decision for the victims of the war and our country”.
The member of the Delegation, Givi Mikanadze in his speech noted that for the first time during the last two decades, the newly elected Parliament consists of 14 political parties and such diversity of the political actors is a result of the will of Georgian citizens:
“Unfortunately, the opposition parties do not value the support expressed by their electors and rejecting the mandates, try to sabotage the Parliamentary activity. The report underlines that the Parliamentary Elections 2020 were estimated by the international observation organizations as competitive, where the fundamental freedoms were adhered to and where the parties enjoyed the freedom to hold their campaigns. It is noteworthy that more than 80 000 observers were observing the elections countrywide”.
He dwelt on the simultaneous counting by one of the NGOs, which initially revealed the deviation of 2.4% from the official results made by the CEC.
“The leaders of “Georgian Dream” officially addressed this NGO and called on to disclose information about 850 polling stations where the count was simultaneously held. Initially, NGO refused but in mid-December, they stated that the gap was detected by the internal audit in the formula of counting. After elimination of the gap, their results coincided with the CEC results. This NGO stated that their PVT detected a discrepancy in 8% of the electoral districts. “Georgian Dream” also required to disclose the list of these districts. According to the CEC data, this so-called “imbalance” related to the excessive bulletins, was described only in 19 protocols out of 3657, unlike the statement of NGO. The “Georgian Dream” has not yet received any data from the observation organization”.
He noted that along with the boycott, the radical opposition openly started to express discontent towards the international observations, international politicians and the facilitators, which led to a series of attacks on the EU and US Ambassadors especially.
“The “Georgian Dream” submitted the initiative to set up the Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Commission in the Parliament to investigate the Elections and called on the opposition parties to participate. It is no surprise that the opposition rejected this offer, which confirms their will of marginalization and will to keep their protest in streets instead of the Parliamentary activity. We are oriented to the future and consider the further enhancement of democratic processes in Georgia. “Georgian Dream” is aspired to cooperate with our international partners, including the PACE to focus on the gaps detected during the last Parliamentary Elections”.
The monitoring procedures cover 11 countries (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine) and 3 countries participating in the post-monitoring dialogue (Bulgaria, Montenegro and North Macedonia).
The PACE Monitoring Committee schedules the sitting in summer, 2018 in Tbilisi, as the Head of the Parliamentary Delegation, the Monitoring Committee member, Tamar Chugoshvili stated. Today, the Monitoring Committee considered the report providing the most positive estimations on Georgia. The main recommendation envisaged necessity to continue judicial reform and particular attention to the Venice Commission recommendations upon Constitutional reform.
“The co-rapporteurs introduced the positive estimations. Today, we heard the similar reports on four countries and the most positive was concerning Georgia. Both co-rapporteurs made positive accents on necessity of judicial reforming and consideration of Venice Commission recommendations upon Constitutional reform”.
According to the opposition MP, Giorgi Kandelaki, the Committee touched upon the Constitutional changes and hoped for consideration of Venice Commission remarks.
The members of PACE Monitoring Committee, co-reporters Boriss Cilevics and Kerstin Lundgren continue their visit in Georgia. They met with the representatives met with the Chairman of Human Rights Committee Eka Beselia. The main issues of the discussion were reforming of election system and so called third wave. Before the meeting Eka Beselia answered the questions of the Chairman of Constitutional Court and offered to Giorgi Papuashvili to involve in the process. As Beselia said, the changes aims to resolve the problems in law.
The members of PACE Monitoring Committee, co-reporters Boriss Cilevics and Kerstin Lundgren continue their visit in Georgia. They met with the representatives of non-parliamentary opposition and non-governmental sector. The main issues of discussions were election period, pre-election environment and changes in election law. They also discussed voters’ lists. As it is known, the members of PACE Monitoring Committee also discussed the case of private footages.
The first meeting of co-repporteurs of PACE Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE) with the Chairman of Supreme Court Giorgi Papuashvili has already been completed. The meeting of the officials completed in 45 minutes and it was held in closed doors format. The sides discussed the contradictions against the Chairman of Supreme Court.
“The main issues were fight against Giorgi Papuashvili, the situation today and the law which was created by the Justice Ministry. The aim of the law was reducing the competence of Constitutional Court,”-Giorgi Papuashvili said.