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PACE Co-rapporteurs: “Independency of Constitutional Court should be ensured”

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, May 12
At the end of their visit to Georgia, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) co-rapporteurs for the country, Boriss Cilevics and Kerstin Lundgren welcomed the intention of Eka Beselia, the Chairperson of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Georgian Parliament- to send the proposed amendments to the laws governing the Constitutional Court to the Venice Commission for opinion, before they are discussed in second reading in the parliament.

PACE co-rapporteurs stated that the important role of the Constitutional Court as an independent and impartial arbiter should be ensured.

“By being asked for an opinion in the next couple of days, the Venice Commission would be able to adopt its opinion at its June plenary session, which in turn would allow the parliament to take the recommendations of the Venice Commission into account when adopting the amendments in final reading before the end of this parliamentary session,” said the two co-rapporteurs.

The officials also mentioned the ongoing election system issue, which refers to the demand of the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition-to replace the existing majoritarian system into a proportional one before the parliamentary elections in October.

According to the official web page of the Council of Europe, the rapporteurs regretted that since 2007, the ruling majority and opposition have been unable to reach a consensus on the electoral system, which has been a permanent source of tension in the political environment.

“We therefore urge all political forces to compromise now, in order to avoid the same exact question returning during the run-up to the 2020 elections,” stated Boriss Cilevics and Kerstin Lundgren.

Moreover, they stressed the importance of the stability of the electoral framework in the months before the elections. The PACE rapporteurs called on all political forces in Georgia to refrain from any actions or discourse that could negatively affect the democratic conduct and public trust in the forthcoming elections.

“With the 2012 elections, Georgia became an example for the region. That trend should be continued in 2016,” said the co-rapporteurs.

When visiting Georgia, the co-rapporteurs met with representatives of minorities and organizations working on minority issues.

They urged the authorities to continue to fight against discrimination and prejudice and to strengthen tolerance for minorities in Georgian society.

“This is especially important in the context of the forthcoming elections, with the risk of minority issues being used for ulterior motives, including by external forces,” they concluded.

The PACE co-rapporteurs will visit Georgia again during the pre-electoral period in the framework of the observation of the forthcoming parliamentary elections, in order to assess the pre-election environment.