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Visit by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe concludes

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Monday, December 8
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Georgia is over. After several days of monitoring, assembly speaker Boris Silevich, spoke about the main problematic issues in Georgia with media representatives.

According to him, one of main issues is the election law, which is not in line with EU standards; Silevich also spoke about religious minorities and the law about eavesdropping.

"We have discussed this issue at various meetings, including in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and in the Public Defender's Office. First of all, changes are needed in the election law, and those changes must start as soon as possible. As for problems with regard to religious minorities, controversy among religious groups happens in Europe too,” stated Silvech.

While speaking about surveillance, Silevich said that the two-key system is the internationally accepted practice or standard. According to him, the fact that Georgia has discussions about similar law shows that this country has advanced compared to its neighbors.

“I would not say that the dual-key principle is a general practice or standard. I cannot say anything in detail, because there is no full translation of this law in the English language yet, though the basic principles are quite clear. I want to stress that the fact that this issue is being discussed means that Georgian has made great progress compared to its neighbors who have very different problems on the agenda,” stated Silevich.

In November, Georgia’s parliament adopted a government-backed bill on surveillance that allows the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) and the Personal Data Protection Inspector to have ‘key’ access to surveillance.

Silevich and Deputy Head of the PACE Monitoring Department Bas Klain met Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili at the Government Administration on December 5.

After the meeting, Silevich said the Russia-Abkhaz Alliance and Strategic Partnership deal was deplorable and the issue had been discussed by the European Council.

“The discussion was very open, very candid and constructive. We have a very optimistic attitude to the progress of Georgia,” stated Silevich.

Garibashvili said the government appreciated the role of the PACE co-rapporteurs and it welcomed such monitoring that enabled the situation to be assessed objectively by an outside, independent body.