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Georgian Opposition Refuses to Support Ruling Party’s Nominee for Ombudsman

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, November 28
(TBILISI)—Opposition party European Georgia has flatly rejected the ruling Georgian Dream’s (GD) nomination of Nino Lomjaria to become the country’s next public defender.

European Georgia’s Sergo Ratiani said his party opted to reject Lomjaria’s nomination due to her previous position as deputy head of the State Audit Office.

“Working in (an official capacity) for a state structure is a conflict of interest if you plan to become the next public defender,” said Ratiani.

Lomjaria was one of four candidates put forward by the government to become the country’s next public defender. In an unorthodox move for the current regime, GD officials reportedly consulted with members of Georgia’s civil society to draw up a list of names that would be acceptable to the political opposition and social activists.

The EU’s Ambassador to Georgia, Janos Herman, welcomed the GD’s decision to include outside consultations as part of their decision process, saying it was an important step towards establishing confidence for the new public defender who will replace Ucha Nanuashvili after his 5-year term expires in December.

Georgia’s leading NGOs released a joint statement welcoming Lomjaria’s candidacy. The head of Georgia’s Young Lawyers’ Association, Anna Natsvlishvili, one of the four candidates to take over as public defender, said she believed Lomjaria would be “a very good choice for the country”.

Lomjaria previously was a member of Georgia’s Young Lawyers’ Association. She later served as the head of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy and deputy head of the State Audit Office before naming for the new role.

She will need at least 76 votes in the 150-mmeber legislative body to take the position.

The Georgian Dream has 116 lawmakers in the legislative body.