Overcoming of the “Hate Speech” in Georgia

Published in Society
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 17:30

Overcoming of the “Hate Speech” in Georgia must start by the active engagement of the parliament, such narratives were mentioned on a meeting at Shota Rustaveli Hall of the Parliament of Georgia on January 15, where it was presented the publication by “XXI Century” and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Publication emphases the aforementioned problem and the European experience how to deal with it.

Our new book -"Hate Speech" - The book, the first publication in Georgia involving comprehensive materials on hate speech, deals with general information on hate speech and its definition, respective international legal documents and recommendations, relevant decisions by the European Court of Human Rights, hate speech in the laws of the EU member states and ECRI recommendations for Georgia. 
The publication has been prepared by the Union Century 21, within the scope of the project "The Problem of Hate Speech and Facilitation to its Resolution in Georgia". 
The project was implemented with the support of Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung.

Parliament approves state budget for the year of 2018

Published in Politics
Thursday, 14 December 2017 13:17

The Georgian Parliament has approved the state budget for the upcoming year of 2018. 

The document presented by new Financial Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, was unanimously approved by the MPs with 111 votes in favor. 

Debates and discussion preceded the voting all day long. 

The total volume of the state budget increases reaching 12,441 billion GEL.

The Parliament of Georgia ratified the Free Trade Agreement between Georgia and China

Published in Economics
Monday, 06 November 2017 15:59

The hereby Agreement will allow Georgian entrepreneurs introducing own goods and services to the largest world market without bureaucratic impediments.

Besides, the agreement will facilitate to increase of trade turnover between the signatory countries. The document provides active cooperation in various directions and defines free trade conditions.

The Agreement facilitates to economic development of the country and better employment. Besides, the document will encourage entry of potential foreign investors to Georgia.

The negotiations on the agreement started on November 10, 2015 in China within the World Economic Forum after the meeting of the Prime Ministers of Georgia and China. Georgia is the first country in the region with free trade agreement with China.

Venice Commission on Georgian draft Constitution

Published in World
Saturday, 23 September 2017 11:47

The European Commission for Democracy through Law (the “Venice Commission”) published today its new draft opinion on the draft Constitution of Georgia as adopted in the second reading in June 2017, as well as on the letter submitted by the Georgian authorities to the Venice Commission on 20 September 2017, in which they committed themselves to consider new amendments.

The Venice Commission in its draft opinion reiterated its previous positive assessment of the draft Constitution, but once again underlined that any major constitutional reform must reach the widest possible consensus.

A major obstacle to reaching consensus, the report says, is the postponement to October 2024 of the entry into force of the proportional system for election of the Parliament. The Venice Commission called it “undoubtedly highly regrettable” as the passage to the proportional system is “the most important aspect of the reform”. “However, the commitment of the parliamentary majority in the letter of 20 September 2017 to consider allowing party blocks, together with the reduction of the election threshold to 3% at the 2020 elections is to be welcomed, since those amendments aim to alleviate the negative effects of the postponement.”

The new complex system for the distribution of unallocated mandates adopted in the second reading reduces the effects of the bonus for the winning party, but still very much favours the strongest party in the country. The bonus system is also a main obstacle to the acceptance of the Constitution by opposition parties and civil society, and the Venice Commission therefore strongly welcomes the commitment of the parliamentary majority to consider abandoning the bonus system altogether and adopting the full proportional distribution system as from 2024. “Such a system would favour pluralism in parliament and be fully in line with European standards. The Venice Commission expects that this step will not only be considered but immediately adopted,” the document says.

The Venice Commission has also welcomed, inter alia, the introduction of the requirement of a qualified majority of 2/3 of the votes of the Election Board in a presidential election; the lifetime appointment for the judges of the Supreme Court; the abolition of probationary periods for judges as from 31 December 2024; and the election of the Public Defender for a longer term (6 years instead of 5) by a qualified majority in parliament.

Additional recommendations provided by the Venice Commission include removing the prohibition of “creation of political parties on territorial grounds”, reconsidering the rules limiting the role of the Constitutional Court in reviewing electoral legislation; and modifying the process of the appointment of Supreme Court judges to better guarantee their independence.


President Margvelashvili Does Not Convene the Special Session of the Parliament

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 10:07

The President of Georgia, H.E. Giorgi Margvelashvili has not considered the request of the Chairman of the Parliament, Mr. Irakli Kobakhidze to convene the special session and called on the Parliament not to adopt uncoordinated constitutional amendments in the accelerated manner.
"My refusal has a political content. I call on the Parliament not to adopt uncoordinated amendments in the accelerated manner. I encourage the Parliament to return to the recommendations and remarks suggested by the Venice Commission and propose the improved version of the Constitution. Let us create a document of agreement; the document that will be based on consensus and the fundamental principles proposed by the Venice Commission. We should not cause problems for the development of the Georgian democracy.
I hope that in this difficult period, respected deputies, the Parliamentary majority will not get involved in this extremely accelerated regime and continue to discuss the Constitution according to the principles that I have proposed", - stated President Margvelashvili.
The President has also assessed yesterday's decision of the parliamentary majority regarding the constitutional reform as an amendment that aims at reducing the power of the President’s Institute.
"Refusal of a transition to the proportional system - this amendment entirely changes the proposed project of the constitutional reform, which has been discussed by the Georgian society and the Venice Commission.
The name itself - fundamental amendments to the Constitution - and our expectation imply that the Georgian society would have taken another step in improving the Constitution; however, the only fundamental change which was made, was reducing the power of the President’s Institute. This concerns to the indirect presidential election system, functions and rights of a commander-in-chief and abolition of the National Security Council, all included in the draft; overall, all issues that we have been discussing from the very beginning when the Constitutional Commission was formed. This is a version of the Constitution, which has been adopted as a result of the attitude, directed against the President’s Institute”, - pointed out the President.

The event “Books for Emigrants from Georgia” held in the Parliament

Published in Politics
Monday, 08 May 2017 17:30

The Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee and Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) organized the event “Books for Emigrants from Georgia”. MPs, executive authorities and public organizations, as well as Staff members provided the books for the “Book Bank” for compatriots residing abroad.
The Chair of the Diaspora Committee, Zviad Kvachantiradze addressed the attendees and thanked the GYLA for the initiative. “When we were offered to support the initiative we did it with our pleasure as we saw that there is the highest interest in the society towards Georgian Diasporas and emigrants. I call on everyone, MPs and Government, as well as society to support this initiative. Our aim is to establish more Geo-lingual libraries abroad”.
He emphasized attitude of the state towards Diaspora and emigrants. “Our Government strives to maintain the Georgian Diaspora and emigrants issue in agenda upon relations with the partners. I believe the decision made by the Government entrusting relations with Georgian Diaspora to the Foreign Ministry has triggered our relations and enhancement of relations with our emigrants. We will always try and facilitate to emigrants in enhancement of links with Georgia and ensure to make this process mutually interesting, profitable and future-oriented”.
The GYLA Chair, Ana Natsvlishvili stated that this event is the part of the wider campaign implemented by GYLA countrywide on the basis of the appeals of Georgian emigrants from various countries (Poland, Turkey, Greece, Ukraine, Italy). She thanked the Parliament and the Committee for support of the EU mission project. “I am happy that the Parliament and the Diaspora Committee are very positive regarding our initiative and planned this wonderful event. I would like to thank every person making this event possible and I would also like to thank the EU mission supporting our wide scale project on migration issues. This event is the symbol of unity of the Government and civil sector and we will be glad for further enhancement of this cooperation”. 

Tamar Chugoshvili: I would hail if the Speaker of the Parliament and the President of Georgia jointly introduce the Constitutional Changes to the population

Published in Politics
Friday, 05 May 2017 10:14

The Parliament invites the President of Georgia to participate in public consideration of the Constitutional Changes, as stated by the First Vice Speaker, Tamar Chugoshvili.
“Regarding the public consideration of the Constitutional Changes, we have offer to the President – we want to invite him to participate in public considerations. I would hail the fact if the Speaker of the Parliament and the President of Georgia jointly introduce the Constitutional Changes to the population, especially that the President and his Administration have already started this process for a certain period and we start it now deriving from the requirements of the Rules of Procedure. However, we can consolidate these two processes”.

The Parliament of Georgia hosted the Rugby World Cup

Published in Sport
Thursday, 04 May 2017 10:55

Rugby indeed is our game, Georgians’ game”, - the Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze stated in Kutaisi Parliament where the Rugby World Cup was delivered on the occasion of the World Rugby Championship to be held in Georgia
I am glad that the Parliament hosts the World Cup. This event will play the greatest role in Rugby development in Georgia. I would like to thank every person and every organization contributing in development of Rugby in Georgia. “Rugby is our game” – it is not the slogan only. Rugby indeed is our game, Georgians’ game”, - he stated.
According to MP, veteran Rugby player and the former captain of Georgian National Team, Irakli Abuseridze, development of Rugby in Georgia started in 90s. “It is the greatest responsibility for Georgia. I am glad that we host the World Rugby Championship. It is the recognition at the world level. We have obtained approval to hold the Championship in Georgia as a result of two victories at World Cup 2015 and I hope that our country and our Team will achieve the goal we outlined”.
According to the veteran Rugby player, Lekso Gugava, witnessing the prestigious Rugby award is a unique opportunity. “According to the rule, when the country hosts the World Cup, the World Cup serves the pre-visit to the hosting country to start travel and see the representative areas of the country. One of the Cup stops is the Parliament. Today, the Cup was delivered to the Speaker of the Parliament, the Parliament also hosts the veteran Rugby players and everyone can take a photo and see the Cup. It is a unique opportunity”.
Within May 31-June 18, Georgia will for the first time host the World Rugby Championship. The World Rugby Cup arrived on April 17. It travels to the regions of Georgia and within the action, the Rugby Union and veteran players delivered the Cup to the Parliament of Georgia.

Irakli Kobakhidze: Parliament will be absolutely open for business cooperation

Published in Politics
Friday, 28 April 2017 11:10

The Speaker, Mr. Irakli Kobakhidze, as commenting to media after the meeting with the Business Association member companies, stated that the Parliament and business sector will actively cooperate in various formats
We had the meeting with Business Association representatives first of all regarding the Constitutional changes. We discussed the issues related to legislative norms regulating economic relations and agreed on various cooperation formats. The Parliament will be absolutely open for business cooperation. First of all, we shall establish an effective format to preliminarily consider all the initiatives related to business interests”.

The joint statement of the Speaker of the Parliament and the President of Belgian Chamber of Representatives

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 13:02

“We agreed that simultaneously with enhancement of EU integration of Georgia, we will further continue close relations between our countries and the inter-Parliamentary links will become more practical and productive”, - the Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze stated after the meeting with the President of Belgian Chamber of Representatives, Mr. Siegfried Bracke. The parties made the joint statement and overviewed the issues discussed at the meeting. 
The Speaker thanked the Belgian counterpart for his contribution in visa liberalization and enhancement of bilateral relations, as well as support of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia.
I would like to thank Belgium, our Belgian friends, Parliament of Belgium and personally Mr. Bracke for his contribution in the issues of utmost importance for us. I also would like to thank our Belgian friends for their contribution in support of territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia”.
As the Speaker stated, bilateral relations will become even more productive and friendly and underlined importance of enactment of Parliamentary diplomacy. “This year, we celebrate 25 years of our diplomatic relations and we are glad for more productive and friendly relations with Belgium. I would like to underline importance of enactment of Parliamentary diplomacy not only in bilateral relations but in multilateral formats within EU, NATO, CoE and OSCE scopes. In this context, Georgian and Belgian Parliaments have set up the Friendship Groups serving for enhancement of bilateral links”.
According to the Speaker, the parties discussed ongoing reforms in Georgia, including Constitutional reform, foreign political priorities and territorial integrity. “We agreed that simultaneously with enhancement of EU integration of Georgia, we will further enhance our close relations and inter-Parliamentary links will become even more practical and productive”.
According to Mr. Bracke, Georgia and Belgium enjoy the best diplomatic relations and Georgia is the reliable partner in sensitive region. “We are here in Georgia to underline one of the best diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Belgium and Georgia. We shall further cooperate and converse and it is important as you have the deepest roots in democratic system, you are the reliable country in sensitive region and it is another reason for further cooperation. We discussed territorial integrity of Georgia as well. Belgium supports your requirements on territorial integrity. We also discussed inter-Parliamentary cooperation ways. We are interested in cooperation. Having the reliable partner in the region is important for us and we will be glad to assist you in democratic development”. After the joint statement, the parties had the tour in the Parliament.

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