Ruling party MP responds to criticism of US official Olson on electoral, court reforms

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Erika Olson has criticized the Georgian Dream government for ‘pausing’ electoral and judiciary reforms. Photo:, 09 Dec 2021 - 14:48, Tbilisi,Georgia

Head of Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee from the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party, Anri Okhanashvili, says he is eager to listen to  a ‘concrete argument’ from the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Erika Olson on why she is unhappy with the Georgian government’s efforts to reform the country’s electoral and judiciary systems.  

Olson, who is overseeing policy for Southern Europe and the Caucasus, said yesterday that Washington is worried the Georgian government’s actions have ‘eroded some of the democratic process.’ 

She said that her recent November trip to Georgia reminded her of a ‘firm partnership’ between the US and Georgia, noting that the country needs to continue working towards a better electoral and court system. 

Okhanashvili says that ‘criticism should be based on arguments.’ 

I would like to hear a concrete international law or a standard which contradicts existing rules in Georgia for the election of supreme court judges or an electoral system. If the arguments are provided, then we will be able to discuss the topic,” Okhanashvili said. 

The US Embassy to Georgia has called on the Georgian parliament several times to pause the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court until the country carries out large-scale judicial reform. 

The embassy also says that the GD should support an electoral bill which offers a lower election threshold for the next two parliamentary elections in Georgia.