The messenger logo

Opposition refuses to support Constitutional Court judge

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, February 8
Member of the United National Movement Parliamentary opposition Salome Samadashvili says the party will not vote for majority Georgian Dream MP and ex-vice Parliament Speaker Manana Kobakhidze for the position of Constitutional Court judge, as appointing a person with political affiliations in the court would be a “step backwards”.

“While the independence of the courts represents one of the main current challenges for Georgia, it is of the utmost importance who the members of the Constitutional Court will be.

“It is a pity that the government decided to fill the vacant position with a judge appointed with a political affiliation who will receive orders from the government as well as from Bidzina Ivanishvili,” Samadashvili said, referring to the founder of the Georgian Dream party, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is described as the “real ruler” of the country by the opposition.

Kobakhidze claims her current role will “in no way” influence her decisions in the court.

She says that before coming to politics with the Georgian Dream team in 2012, she was a human rights defender and knows the value of impartiality.

The civil sector is also concerned over Kobakhidze’s alleged appointment to the position, stressing her “very active role and involvement” in the ruling team’s activities.

The Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia (GDDG) nominated GDDG MP Manana Kobakhidze as a candidate for a vacant seat at the Constitutional Court of Georgia last month.

One seat in the nine-member Constitution Court has been vacant since September 2016, when the ten-year term of Ketevan Eremadze, who was appointed through a parliamentary quota, expired.

The Constitutional Court of Georgia consists of nine judges.

All three branches of state powers participate in the formation of the Constitutional Court on an equal basis; three members are appointed by the President of Georgia, three members by Parliament, and three by the Supreme Court. The term of office of a member of the Constitutional Court is ten years.

Kobakhidze needs at least 76 votes out of the 150-member legislative body to take the post; the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority currently holds 116 seats in Parliament.