This week, the Parliament of Georgia presented an Action Plan that outlines key parliamentary activities for 2019-2020 designed to support the implementation of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
Organised with the assistance of the EU and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the presentation event brought together Georgian law-makers and representatives of civil society, diplomatic missions and international organizations.
Carl Hartzell, Ambassador of the EU to Georgia, noted the increased role of the parliament in the implementation of the Association Agreement.
“The EU acknowledges Georgia’s good progress in the implementation of the country’s commitments under the Association Agreement,” Ambassador Hartzell said. “The Parliament of Georgia, as a key institution in this parliamentary democracy, plays an indispensable role in overseeing the implementation process and ensuring further democratic and other reforms.”
The Action Plan has been developed based on the findings of a baseline study supported by the EU and UNDP in 2017.
The Action Plan was adopted by the Parliament Bureau on 19 March 2019. It aims to streamline parliamentary activities and foster a strategic and uniform approach to the process across all involved committees. Three strategic goals described in the Action Plan refer to law-making and legislative approximation, oversight of the implementation of the Association Agreement, and effective public outreach and communication.
The Assembly today called for a series of measures aimed at stopping sexism and sexual harassment in politics, including in parliaments. These recommendations are addressed to national parliaments, but also to political parties and governments.
They focus on raising awareness of this phenomenon (which is commonplace but widespread and systematic) through surveys and public debate, as well as the introduction of effective complaint procedures and mechanisms for parliaments with effective sanctions that are proportional to the seriousness of the facts and accessible to both Members and staff. Data collection, monitoring and research in this area should also be intensified.
Following the proposals of the rapporteur, Thorhildur Sunna AEvarsdottir (Iceland, SOC), the Assembly also called for the modification of its Code of Conduct to introduce an explicit ban on sexism, sexual harassment and sexual violence, and a reference to the protection of dignity.
As the extent of the problem of violence against women in politics has started to be understood only very recently - as part of the #MeToo movement and following a joint IPU/PACE study - all parliaments are invited to join and support the #NotInMyParliament initiative.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Tamar Chugoshvili: I would hail if the Speaker of the Parliament and the President of Georgia jointly introduce the Constitutional Changes to the populationFriday, 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”.
“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.
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”.