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De-oligarchization groups formed to work on EU conditions will be headed by Anri Okhanashvili

By Liza Mchedlidze
Friday, August 5, 2022
The Legal Affairs Committee has created working groups to fulfill the conditions set by the European Union for Georgia to gain European Union candidacy, the meeting was held on August 4 and Anri Okhanashvili spoke to the media afterward.

Five working groups were created in the committee overall: development of the draft law on the issue of de-oligarchization, judicial reform, revision of the Election Code of Georgia, anti-corruption measures, and further institutional strengthening of the Special Investigation Service and Personal Data Protection Service.

After the meeting of the working group ended, Okhanashvili spoke to the media regarding the de-oligarchization and said that Bidzina Ivanishvili, the founder of the Georgian Dream party, is not considered an oligarch:

"All the main principles of the Ukrainian law on de-oligarchization should be transposed, Bidzina Ivanishvili, due to the fact that he does not fit into these criteria, he is not considered an oligarch according to this law," said Okhanashvili.

When asked whether "Georgian Dream" is planning to send the version developed by it to the Venice Commission, Okhanashvili says that it would not be logical, given that they do not plan to copy the law and should adapt it to the Georgian reality, as well as the context may be different.

"This law was approved by the European Commission in relation to Ukraine and there is a demand for its implementation, so to exclude any speculations, the working group aimed to adapt the law to Georgian compliance. At the same time, maybe the Venice Commission will draw a conclusion on the Ukrainian model, which was sent to the Venice Commission (by Ukraine).

The context and principles are the same everywhere when it comes to mitigating certain impacts and preventing risks. Considering that Ukraine has already sent, it is not logical for us to send the same model a second time. All the basic principles should be conveyed so that it does not turn out later that we introduced such issues that would not be acceptable to the Venice Commission or the European Commission," he said.

The working groups for de-oligarchization, judicial reform, anti-corruption measures, and further institutional strengthening of the Special Investigation Service and Personal Data Protection Service will be headed by the Chairman of the Legal Affairs Committee, Anri Okhanashvili, and the working group for the revision of the Election Code of Georgia will be headed by Givi Mikanadze, the first deputy chairman of the Georgian Dream party.

Working groups include members of the Georgian Dream party and the parliamentary opposition, as well as representatives of civil society (the Georgian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum), state agencies, as well as other interested parties.

Representatives of the citizens, European socialists, and Girchi, as well as members of the non-partisan parliament, will participate in the activities of the working groups from the parliamentary opposition.

According to Anri Okhanashvili, the representatives of the President of Georgia, in accordance with their expressed wish, will monitor the activities of the working groups. Okhanashvili added that if desired, international organizations will also have the opportunity to monitor the process, including representatives of the United States Embassy and the Council of Europe.

On June 23, 2022, the European Council did not grant candidate EU status to Georgia. The council said it is ready to grant the country candidate status once a number of issues are resolved and presented a 12-point plan for Georgia to work on towards the candidacy.