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New drafts cause controversies

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, September 30
Drafts concerning leaving the country, violations of language norms and especially talented entrants are the three new initiatives that caused serious controversies in public.

According to the bill prepared and registered by Georgian Dream lawmakers, Zurab Abashidze and Irine Imerlishvili, citizens may be blocked from leaving the country, to get passport, to prolong the validity of the passport, and to cross the border “considering the interests of the state or public safety.” Through the current legislation, Georgian citizens can not leave the country if they are wanted or if their documentation is not valid.

The authors state that there is such a regulation in the constitution and now they want to make the legislation compatible with the constitution. Thus, according to them, none of the new restrictions was delivered through the draft.

The parliamentary opposition called the draft a step back to the Soviet Union when each move was controlled. United National Movement (UNM) MP, Nugzar Tsiklauri, stated that if the draft is transformed into law, serious problems would be created for the government’s opponents.

“Citizens, who somehow create threat to the current Georgian leadership would be left without various civil rights,” Tsiklauri states.

Representative of Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association Tatuli Todua, emphasizes that Georgian citizen being denied exit of the country if it is necessary for state interests or public security is so vague that it in fact allows for arbitrariness. She states that the draft envisages “too much power for the law-enforcement bodies and controlling how conscientiously the bodies use the right would be hard.” Todua hoped that the draft would be not supported by the parliament.

The following two drafts are related to language and education. In the case a journalist violates the literary norms of the state language, the media organization that the journalist represents would be fined.

Sanctions would be set for official figures who will abuse the language norms as well. Restrictions are planned for advertising banners.

Journalist, Nino Japiashvili, assessed the draft as a restriction of the right of expression and involvement in media. She told Netgazeti that the changes might enable the governments to use the restrictions against undesirable media organizations.

The third draft concerns especially talented entrants. Head of the Parliament’s Education Committee, Ivane Kiguradze, initiated the especially talented students to receive high education without passing the national exams. He stressed that that he made the decision after receiving various letters from the state Art Academy and Conservatory. Kiguradze explained that sometimes the entrants, who get the highest scores in the art institutions, fail in some other obligatory subjects.

Deputy Head of the committee, Sergo Ratiani, opposed the draft, stating that through the mode such students might be enrolled who does not know Georgian language. He stressed that exceptions might encourage corruption as well.

United National Examinations Centre does not approve the exceptions as well. Chairperson of the Centre, Maia Miminoshvili, states that the exceptions might threat for the well-organized exams system in Georgia.

The drafts will be presumably discussed this week.