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Majority nominates ex-deputy Speaker for Constitutional Court judge

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, January 24
Georgia’s ruling party, Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG), presented former deputy Parliament Speaker Manana Kobakhidze as their candidate to the position of Constitutional Court judge.

The majority had four candidates for the position; however, in the end, they decided to choose Kobakhidze, saying they took into account the candidate’s professionalism and objectivity.

The majority is sure their candidate will get enough votes from MPs to become a Constitutional Court judge, while the opposition criticized the ruling team and claimed the government is aiming to influence the court.

The United National Movement (UNM) opposition believes Kobakhidze will carry out the government’s interests in the court.

“Kobakhidze’s nomination is an example of the control and monopolization of independent institutions by the government. Kobakhidze is a political figure, who protects the government’s interests,” UNM member Akaki Minashvili stressed.

Member of the European Georgia party, Otar Kakhidze, says Kobakhidze cannot be a judge, adding that she was participating in the “court paralyzing process”.

“Kobakhidze and her colleges attacked the Constitutional Court and paralyzed it,” he said.

Majority member Mamuka Mdinaradze said Kobakhidze’s nomination was the most “optimal” decision of the ruling party.

“I think she will be a successful judge. She is obliged to ensure maximum objectivity, in order not to raise question marks and not to become the object of speculations,” he added.

The position in the Constitutional Court became vacant in September 2016, when Judge KetevanEremadze’s 10-year term expired.

The President, Parliament and the Supreme Court each appoint three members of the 9-seat Constitutional Court for a 10-year term.

The only vacant seat, which will likely be occupied by Kobakhidze, had to be filled within a month after it became vacant, but due to the October 8 parliamentary elections, the process was delayed.

A judge candidate needs support from at least 75MPs of 150-seat legislative body in order to be approved for the position.