Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Tuesday praised Levan Ioseliani, an opposition MP from the Citizens party, as a “worthy” nominee to become the country’s new Public Defender.
Speaking to the media at the ongoing ITB Berlin international tourism fair, the head of the Government said the ruling party was expected to support Ioseliani in the forthcoming vote in the Parliament for electing the new ombudsperson.
Of course, the final decision is on the Parliamentary majority. This is my view, and, given that I am aware of the position of the majority [on the subject], I am also sharing my own stance”, the PM added.
Selecting an “unbiased” public advocate is one of 12 conditions outlined by the European Council for granting Georgia the European Union membership candidate status later this year.
The approval of the new public advocate requires at least 90 votes in the 150-member parliament, which means the ruling Georgian Dream party - which currently has 75 MPs - and the opposition would need to cooperate for the selection.
The ruling party last year conceded the opportunity of nominating the Public Defender candidate to the opposition, but stressed they would not vote for “politically biased” nominees.
A part of the Parliamentary minority has already expressed support for Ioseliani, following his nomination for the post by his party at the end of February.
The term of the former Public Defender Nino Lomjaria expired in December.