PACE pre-electoral delegation said that there was an environment for democratic elections

Published in Politics
Friday, 16 September 2016 11:15

Strasbourg, 15.09.2016 – A delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) was in Tbilisi on 13 and 14 September 2016 to assess the pre-electoral climate of the parliamentary elections scheduled for 8 October 2016.
The delegation*, led by Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD), felt that there was an environment for democratic elections in the country. It saw a pluralistic political and media landscape and a working legal framework. Although the delegation felt that the general climate was clearly less tense than it was during past elections, following discussions with various interlocutors, it considered necessary to underline that all parties should denounce all forms of campaign violence and harassment of opponents and that they should publicly call upon all their supporters to refrain from any actions that could undermine the democratic character of the elections.
The delegation indeed heard allegations of unacceptable acts of violence, intimidation, harassment and blackmail directed at candidates and voters. In this context, such acts, even if isolated, against candidates, party members or supporters, as well as threats against journalists, must be prevented. Perpetrators of such acts must be identified and punished. The delegation also said that any misuse of administrative resources in the electoral campaign must not happen.
The delegation underlined that all parties should focus on the real issues and avoid questioning the election framework as a campaign strategy, as this could undermine public trust in the elections themselves.
The delegation called on all stakeholders, and in particular on the authorities, to avoid any actions that could increase the tensions in the political environment in the run-up to the elections. It expressed the hope that all political players would spare no efforts to pave the way towards building a genuine culture of education, based on mutual respect between political forces of opposing orientations.
The PACE pre-electoral delegation was in Tbilisi at the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. It met with the Prime Minister, with the Speaker of the Parliament and its first Deputy, with members of the delegation to PACE, with the Chairperson of the State Election Commission, with the Minister of Internal Affairs, with the Head of the National Communications Commission, with leaders and representatives of parliamentary and non-parliamentary parties running in the elections, with representatives of civil society and the media, with the Deputy Head of the OSCE/ODIHR election observation mission and with diplomats based in Tbilisi. 


A full-fledged 32-member delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will arrive in Georgia prior to the parliamentary elections to observe the vote.

PACE delegation makes pre-electoral visit to Georgia

Published in Society
Saturday, 10 September 2016 12:55

A seven-member, cross-party delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), led by Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD), will carry out a pre-electoral mission to Georgia on 13-14 September 2016, to assess the election campaign and political climate prior to the parliamentary elections on 8 October.

In Tbilisi, the delegation is due to meet the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Internal Affairs Minister and the Chair of the Central Election Commission, as well as the head of the National Communications Commission.

The delegation will also meet leaders and representatives of parties running in the election, as well as representatives of the media, NGOs and the diplomatic community.
A full 32-member delegation from the Assembly will return to the country to observe the election itself.
The pre-electoral delegation will issue a statement at the end of the visit.

Members of the delegation:

Emanuelis Zingeris (Lithuania, EPP/CD), head of the delegation
Maryvonne Blondin (France, SOC)
Jordi Xuclà (Spain, ALDE)
Ingebjørg Godskesen (Norway, EC)
Andrej Hunko (Germany, UEL)
Boriss Cilevičs (Latvia, SOC), co-rapporteur for the monitoring of Georgia
Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE), co-rapporteur for the monitoring of Georgia

PACE President to make official visit to Georgia

Published in World
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 19:51

Strasbourg, 29.06.2016 – Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), will make an official visit to Georgia on 30 June-1 July 2016, during which he is due to meet the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Parliament, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Georgian delegation to PACE.

Mr Agramunt will also participate in the 25th Annual Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the OSCE, to be held in Tbilisi on the theme “25 years of parliamentary cooperation: building trust through dialogue”. In this context, he will address the Assembly at its Opening plenary session and will meet the OSCE PA President.

PACE President Pedro Agramunt and the Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, David Usupashvili, will make a joint statement to the press on Friday 1 July at 6.15 pm, at the Exhibition Centre “Expo Georgia”, Akaki Tsereteli Ave. 118, Tbilisi (Hall 3, Speaker’s VIP Office).

PACE and PABSEC Economic Cooperation have many things in common

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 29 June 2016 19:21

“The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation have many things in common,” said PACE President Pedro Agramunt, addressing PABSEC at its plenary session in Moscow today. He underlined that they shared the same geography – as all member states of PABSEC were also members of the Council of Europe – and pursued similar objectives, namely promoting international co-operation to foster stability, prosperity and peace.
“This implies that we have to respond to common challenges too, in particular the refugee crisis and combating international terrorism, he added, explaining the Assembly’s work and activities on the refugee and migration problematic as well as the #NoHateNoFear initiative recently launched by PACE, with a view to “to mobilise politicians, important actors in society and ordinary citizens against terrorism, and the hate and fear that terrorists seek to create”.
In conclusion, Mr Agramunt called for strengthened international co-operation and “more synergies and complementarity to effectively tackle these challenges”.

PACE President: “stand up and show support for refugees”

Published in World
Sunday, 19 June 2016 16:44

Ahead of World Refugee Day, PACE President Pedro Agramunt calls on all Europeans to stand up and show their solidarity and support for the more than 50 million refugees worldwide.

“These 50 million refugees are not just numbers on a piece of paper, they are real people. Like me, like you, they have faces, names, and they have rights”.

“Violence, wars and political repression left them with no option but to leave their homes and countries. They have escaped from conflicts and often survived long and incredibly dangerous journeys. We have the legal and human obligation to do everything in our power to help them”.

On this World Refugee Day, PACE President invites all Europeans not to fall into the trap set by populist and xenophobic rhetoric, “open your hearts, speak to refugees, listen to their stories and their struggle. What refugees need is empathy, support and understanding for their suffering, not indifference or hatred”, he concluded.

Pedro Agramunt warmly welcomes release of PACE member Nadiia Savchenko

Published in World
Wednesday, 25 May 2016 18:00

“The release of my fellow PACE member Nadiia Savchenko is excellent news,” said Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).
“I commend both Russia and Ukraine for making this possible, and I look forward to welcoming her in Strasbourg soon – perhaps even at the next session in June, if her health permits.”
The President added: “I hope that both sides can now build on the goodwill that made this possible in order to make further progress on implementing the Minsk agreements.”


Georgia: PACE monitors regret Constitutional Court changes have not been sent to Venice Commission, as promised

Published in Politics
Thursday, 19 May 2016 14:37

The monitoring co-rapporteurs for Georgia of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE), have expressed their regret at the hasty adoption in final reading, reportedly undermining the transparency of the process, of amendments to the laws governing the functioning of the Constitutional Court.
They in particular regretted that these amendments were not sent to the Venice Commission – the Council of Europe’s independent group of constitutional law experts – for opinion after they were adopted in second reading in the Committee on Human Rights and Civic Integration of the Georgian Parliament, as was originally indicated to them during their visit in the first week of May 2016.
“We wish to reiterate that a Venice Commission opinion on these amendments, and the prompt implementation of their recommendations, could help ensure the efficient functioning of the Constitutional Court and counteract any possible attempts to unduly politicise these amendments, as well as the court itself, in the run up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections. We therefore urge the authorities to request such an opinion of the Venice Commission without any further delay. If not, we will propose that the Assembly’s Monitoring Committee itself request such an opinion at its forthcoming meeting on 23 May 2016.”

PACE Monitoring Committee visited Georgia

Published in Politics
Tuesday, 03 May 2016 14:21

The co- rapporteurs of PACE Monitoring Committee are meeting in Council of Europe office in Tbilisi. The meeting is holding with the representatives of Georgian Office. The main issue is organizational tasks.
In the framework of the visit, Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE) will meet with the chairman of the Constitutional Court. After that the delegation will hold an audience with the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality Paata Zakareishvili. They will also meet the Chairman of CEC and the representatives of Supreme Court.
Boris Silevich and Kerstin Lundgren will hold the meeting in Tbilisi in next 3 years. They will meet the representatives of Georgian Government and the opposition. 

PACE monitors to visit Georgia

Published in Politics
Monday, 02 May 2016 21:41

Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC) and Kerstin Lundgren (Sweden, ALDE), co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of obligations and commitments by Georgia, will make a fact-finding visit to the country on 3-5 May 2016.

In Tbilisi, the co-rapporteurs are due to meet the President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister and a number of ministers, as well as the heads of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts, the Public Defender and the head of the Central Election Commission.

Talks are also scheduled with the Georgian delegation to PACE, representatives of different political parties and factions in the parliament, diplomats and NGOs.

Our fundamental values may not be sacrificed in the fight against terrorism, says Austrian President

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 20 April 2016 19:47

Speaking on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Austria’s membership in the Council of Europe, the Austrian President Heinz Fischer underlined the importance of the 47-nation organisation as an irreplaceable platform where new forms of intergovernmental and parliamentary co-operation were and continue to be developed.

Recalling the importance of respecting the values embodied by the Council of Europe, he stressed that these fundamental values may not be sacrificed in the fight against terrorism.

Referring to the migration and refugee crisis, he called for increased cooperation and co-ordination which had to remain high on the European agenda in order to avoid the instrumentalisation of the issue by right-wing organisations, for xenophobic positions or to incite nationalist emotions.

The President announced that he will leave office at the beginning of July. Quoting Willy Brandt, “War is no longer the ultima ratio but rather the ultima irratio“, he concluded by saying that the most important objective he could not achieve during his time in office was to eliminate the madness of war in human society.

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