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Ruling Party Rejects Consultations over New Supreme Court Chair

The ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party will not participate in the ongoing consultations for selecting the candidacy of the Supreme Court chair, according to senior GDDG lawmakers.

The announcement was made on August 14, a day after Ana Natsvlishvili and Kakha Kozhoridze, President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s parliamentary and legal affairs advisers, respectively, said they would not enter into political “squabbles” with the ruling party considering the importance of the process.

Their remarks were apparently referring to Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze’s earlier statement that the majority group would take part in the presidential administration-led process, but was skeptical of its merits given that the President “has regularly been appointing his administration members to vacant positions in the judiciary.”

The Parliament Speaker changed the position following the August 13 remarks of the presidential administration members, accusing Giorgi Margvelashvili of pursuing partisan interests. “Every time the court decision relates to the United National Movement, the President becomes aggressive and starts attacking the judiciary,” Kobakhidze clarified.

Deputy Speaker Tamar Chugoshvili added that there would be “no point” in engaging into consultations considering the “attitude” of the presidential administration. “It seems, real consultations between the two main actors – the President and the Parliament – will not happen, so the President can continue the process on his own and present the candidate.”

Consultations on selecting the candidacy of the Supreme Court Chair was launched on August 6, four days after Nino Gvenetadze’s unexpected resignation. The presidential administration has already held meetings with lawyers and professors of law, as well as with representatives of human rights watchdogs and international organizations based in Georgia.

Under the current Constitution of Georgia, the President has to present the new chairmanship candidate to the Parliament; which will then have to vote on the nomination. Support of at least 76 MPs is need for approval.

In the new Constitution, which is to come to force upon new president’s inauguration later this year, the right to nominate new chairmanship candidate will no longer be in presidential powers, and will instead be mandated to the High Council of Justice, the body overseeing the judiciary.

This effectively means that if lawmakers vote down the President-nominated candidate, the appointment process will be carried out under the new rules.

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