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The News in Brief

Tuesday, August 1
Mogherini: ‘Lack of Consensus and Inclusiveness’ over Latest Constitutional Changes

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini responded to the joint appeal of Georgian civil society organizations, voicing regret over “the lack of consensus and inclusiveness” regarding the latest developments in the Constitutional reform process in Georgia.

A group of 32 Georgian civil society organizations (CSOs), released an appeal to the international community on June 27, criticizing the ruling party’s decision to postpone the introduction of proportional electoral system to 2024 and urging the international community to “deliver very strong messages to the Government and the ruling party, that the attempts towards consolidation of power are incompatible with western standards of democracy.”

“We have been closely following the different stages of this process, taking good note of the Venice Commission’s Opinion on the draft text of the new Constitution,” reads the letter, undersigned by the High Representative on July 26 and published by the Transparency International – Georgia a day later.

“The European Union welcomed the declared readiness of the parliamentary majority to integrate the Venice Commission’s recommendations. Nevertheless, the latest draft text adopted by the majority contains important modifications related to the proportional system for parliamentary elections, a central pillar of the whole reform,” the High Representative noted.

“We are aware that the latest changes were introduced despite objections formulated by all parliamentary opposition parties and the overwhelming majority of civil society organizations,” Mogherini also said, adding that “we regret the lack of consensus and inclusiveness at this decisive phase of the reform process.”

“From the very start, we have been encouraging a consensual and inclusive process in our contacts with the different political forces in Georgia, be it in government or opposition. Please rest assured that additional efforts are made to ensure that the reform is based on a broad and lasting consensus,” she concluded.

On June 23, the Parliament of Georgia adopted unanimously with 115 votes the constitutional amendments with its second reading. The third and the final hearing will be held in autumn 2017.

Saakashvili threatens new revolution in Ukraine

Georgia’s former president, who was recently stripped of his Ukrainian citizenship, vowed on Saturday to return to Kyiv and oust President Poroshenko, his one-time ally.

Mikheil Saakashvili was speaking to Georgian TV station Rustavi 2 from the United States.

He told the TV station that the decision three days prior to take away his citizenship was confirmation that he is the main threat to the current corrupt regime in Kyiv, which he will return and help overthrow.

The former President of Georgia and Governor of Odessa recently formed his own political party in Ukraine.

Ukraine’s formal reason for canceling the citizenship of the Georgian-born politician was that he allegedly had violated certain procedures when he applied. The decision was made shortly after Poroshenko’s first official trip to Georgia.

Saakashvili was in the U.S. at the time. From a legal standpoint, he is now a stateless person. But he will not apply to another country for citizenship because he considers himself a citizen of Ukraine and will use every legal avenue to restore his citizenship status there.

“I don’t recognize illegal decrees… [Now] the first and foremost task is changing authorities in Ukraine and I’ll play a crucial role in this,” Saakashvili said, adding that in the fall his political allies will launch a series of rallies throughout the country.

“The step taken by Poroshenko was an act of a frightened, scared human being. He violated the constitution of Ukraine as well as its international commitments,” Saakashvili said in the interview. “Poroshenko cut his throat with his own hand, as he banished his main opponent from the country.”

“I’m quite optimistic,” Georgia’s former president added.
(DF watch)