Ombudswoman on OSCE/ODIHR conclusion: ‘I didn’t expect direct answers’

Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria has commented on the OSCE/ODIHR’s conclusion on the opposition’s election bill. Photo: public defender’s press office., 06 Feb 2020 - 18:16, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria, who sent the opposition’s election bill to the OSCE/ODIHR, says that she had no expectations that the OSCE/ODIHR would directly say whether the bill was in line with the Georgian constitution or not.

However, OSCE/ODIHR might have made certain indications,” Lomjaria said, adding that the OSCE/ODIHR stated that it is up to the local courts to decide whether a bill is in line with the constitution or not. 

Lomjaria says that decisions on constitutional issues are made by the Georgian Constitutional Court. However, she stated that the court makes judgements on laws and not bills. 

As of now we have no court or other mechanism in Georgia which could say whether a bill is in line with the constitution or not,” Lomjaria said. 

OSCE/ODIHR: 'the choice of an electoral system is the sovereign decision of the state, so long as the chosen electoral system is consistent with the state’s obligations under international law.'

She stated that she played a ‘positive role’ in sending the bill to OSCE/ODIHR ‘in the [current] complicated situation’, as the ruling party and the opposition have disagreements about how the 2020 elections are to proceed. 

Lomjaria said that only she had the mandate to send the bill to  the OSCE/ODIHR and stated that the most important section of the the OSCE/ODIHR conclusion was that decisions on election issues should be made through a wide consensus. 

The ruling party, which called the opposition ‘a liar and incompetent’, said that the opposition created an ‘awkward situation’ for the public defender when they “pressured her’ to send the bill for discussion which was beyond the competences of OSCE/ODIHR.