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Usupashvili addresses the media

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, May 9
Proposed changes to the labour code, the Law on Common Courts and the presidential candidate of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, were the issues Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili discussed with the media on May 8.

Even though the name of the Georgian Dream’s presidential candidate will become known next week, controversies over the possible candidacy are underway.

Davit Usupashvili said on Wednesday that the Republican Party (which is a member of the coalition) will not have their own candidate. However, he stressed that the Republican Party aims to create a “classic” parliamentary governance.

According to the parliamentary chairman, the coalition will reveal the candidate through internal discussions and added that whoever their candidate is, they will by all means defeat the United National Movement (UNM).

Georgian Dream member Zakaria Kutsnashvili said it is the prerogative of PM Ivanishvili to publicly reveal their candidate.

Usupashvili said the amended labour code was supported by MPs on the first hearing. However, he said some issues still need to be discussed.

Usupashvili thinks the rush over the code is groundless, because according to Usupashvili, the proposed changes are close to meeting international standards. “We had a very discriminating labour code, while we are now very close to the model which puts both employer and employee on equal ground,” he said, adding that not everyone can always be satisfied with everything.

Usupashvili said that the amended labour code considers the specification of every field. He said if a person works 12 hours during a six-day a week, it would reflect in their salaries. For example, he said the time frame of journalists cannot strictly end at 6 pm, because sometimes they have to work until 2 am. Thus, they would either have more salary or less working hours the following day.

The parliamentary chairman also said that the High Council of Justice will have new membership in a month and a half. He said the amended Law on General Courts was set for President Saakashvili to sign on May 15, while afterwards, the authority to sign the proposed changes will move to the parliamentary chairman. “That is why the formation of the High Council of Justice will immediately start,” Usupashvili said, adding that the Chairman of Supreme Court, Kote Kublashvili, is informed about this issue and preparations for the conference of judges in underway.

Kublashvili said earlier that the regulations presented in the Law on Common Courts did not fully comply with the provisions provided by the Venice Commission’s recommendations. “I think that such a precedent, according to which the office term of Judge Members of the High Council will be terminated early and really do not strengthen the Georgian Judiciary,” he said. According to him “the Judiciary will wait for the final completion of the law adoption process and will see that the Judge Association Conference is conducted within the law’s established time limits, where without any pressure the judges will elect the members of the High Council of Justice, who will contribute to ensure effective implementation of the country’s judiciary activities.”

President Saakashvili vetoed the Law on General Courts. However, MPs overcame the veto.

Commenting over the latest rumors over Gia Khukhashvili, economic adviser of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili and several other people, Usupashvili said: let anyone who has fact-based information about the possible pressure on businesses to make these materials public, because he said no one will be punished for telling the truth under the existing political environment. However, he said he is against publication of secret materials about the private life.

“We should talk using relevant facts and evidence. Otherwise we cannot deal with such rumors,” he said, referring to the recent scandal.