PACE welcomes stronger Georgian parliament, justice reform, concerned by election issues

PACE adopted the resolution yesterday., 31 Jan 2020 - 13:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

The recently adopted resolution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), which covers the period between January and December of 2019, has welcomed amendments which ‘reinforce parliamentary oversight in Georgia and political accountability of the executive.’

PACE also welcomed “a broad agreement with all stakeholders’ about the adopted fourth wave of judicial reforms ‘with the aim of further strengthening the independence of the judiciary and efficiency of the administration of justice.’

PACE said that it was concerned by the rejection of the Georgian Dream ruling party proposed election bill in November 2019, which should have ensured the country’s early transition to a fully-proportional electoral system starting from 2020 instead of scheduled 2024.

PACE also expressed concern regarding the ‘the lack of investigation and follow up given to alleged incidents and violations of the electoral code during the 2018 presidential election and the shortcomings in the functioning of the High Council of Justice [an independent body in Georgia responsible for the selection and appointment of judges].’

PACE called upon the Georgian ruling majority:

  • To ensure the introduction of an election system that can have the support and trust of all stakeholders in time before the 2020 elections.
  • To fully implement all the recommendations of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) on the selection and appointment of Supreme Court judges.
  • To promptly implement the fourth wave of reform of the judiciary, and for all political forces in the country to work to overcome the ‘continuing polarisation in the political environment.

The resolution condemned the continuing borderisation and creeping annexation of the Georgian regions of Tskhinvali and Abkhazia by Russia and the illegal annexation of Crimea and military aggression in Eastern Ukraine.

See the full resolution here.