Opposition “disappointed” as ruling party proposes deoligarchisation bill - culture minister

Georgian culture minister Tea Tsulukiani on Wednesday said the “radical part” of the domestic opposition was “unwilling” the current authorities to meet the European Union conditions for Georgia’s membership candidacy. Photo: culture ministry press office 

Agenda.ge, 05 Oct 2022 - 15:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian culture minister Tea Tsulukiani on Wednesday said the “radical part” of the domestic opposition was“utterly disappointed” by the recent move of the ruling Georgian Dream party to propose a bill on deoligarchisation as part of the conditions set by the European Commission in June for Georgia’s membership candidate status.

Tsulukiani, who earlier served as the country’s justice minister, claimed the section of the opposition had seen the EU conditions as an “opportunity to overthrow” the current state leadership, stressing their plans “have been rejected” as the authorities had ensured “all efforts” to meet the conditions for the country’s “European future”.

I am sure Europe will welcome this bill, as it is one of the conditions for the country’s EU membership candidacy. The country needs such a law”, Tsulukiani said, claiming the opposition had been initially demanding the bill before “changing their minds”. 

The ruling party has pledged the discussing of the bill "as transparently and inclusively as possible". Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge. 

Anri Okhanashvili, a chair of the parliament’s legal affairs committee from the ruling party, on Monday said Georgia would use the Ukrainian legislation while drafting the bill, with the only exception that unlike Ukraine, where the president’s office is responsible for compiling the list of potential oligarchs, in Georgia the parliament would be tasked with the objective. 

Okhanashvili also said the bill would consider an individual to be an oligarch if they met at least three of four criteria designated for the purpose - influence over the media, engagement in monopolistic activity, possession of a specific amount of assets, and influence in political and public life.

The MP pledged the bill would be discussed “as transparently and inclusively as possible,” but noted mentioning specific names in the bill, as demanded by a part of the opposition, would be “very undemocratic”.