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Parliament Weekly: April 1-6

Plenary sessions

  • Defense Minister Levan Izoria on the floor

On April 4, Defense Minister Levan Izoria reported to the Parliament on the reforms implemented at the Ministry and the future plans.

During a Q&A session, the opposition mostly asked him questions about alleged facts of money extortion in military units, as well as military hazing, so called “Dedovshina”, and discriminatory attitude towards a woman pilot, Ekaterine Kvlividze. The latter claimed that she was not given an opportunity to fly only because she was a woman that prompted her to quit the office.

Minister Izoria strongly denied the allegations of money extortion in the army, saying that no such facts had taken place. He also denied discriminatory attitude towards Kvlividze, saying that the Ministry had even financed her studies in the United States in 2017.

President of the National Bank of Georgia, Koba Gvenetadze on the floor

On April 5, President of the National Bank of Georgia, Koba Gvenetadze reported to the Parliament. After presenting a report to lawmakers, Gvenetadze answered their questions. The majority of questions asked by the opposition MPs were about the NBG’s new bank regulations and the developments around TBC Bank. He explained that the main component of changes is responsible crediting, meaning that a loan will be issued only after analyzing a borrower’s solvency.

Gvenetadze noted that the changes have already yielded certain results and that the portfolio of mortgage loans has improved. He also explained that assessment of effects of this regulation on economy and banking sector needs a complex approach and detailed analysis will be possible only after the first quarter data are available.

Koba Gvenetadze also touched upon the developments around TBC Bank, saying that the National Bank used its supervisory authority and that there was no outside interference in its decision. Gvenetadze noted that in August 2018, the Financial Monitoring Service of Georgia notified the National Bank about the transaction, requesting it to study and react to the issue of not sending for financial monitoring a relevant financial report on the 2012 transaction carried out by a company registered in the offshore zone.

He also said that analysis of the transaction, through which the bank shareholders borrowed USD 17 million from the bank, through rough violation of legislation regulating the conflict of interests and using the companies Samgori M and Samgori Trade, revealed that the NBG’s doubts had been reasonable.

  • During the same plenary session, the bill on amendments to the Law on General Education was put to the vote with its third hearing. The amendments were about school graduation exams. 63 lawmakers were needed to support the bill, but only 54 MPs voted in favor. Later, the majority lawmakers cited technical problems as the reason behind failure to endorse the bill with Mariam Jashi, chair of the education committee, explaining that the bill would be put to the vote during the next session week.

Meetings

Venice Commission Delegation

On April 1, Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze met with the Venice Commission delegation visiting Georgia. The parties discussed the bill on criteria and procedures of selection of the Supreme Court judicial candidates. The Venice Commission delegation also held a separate meeting with the parliamentary majority members.

Later on the same day, the Venice Commission delegation met with MPs Salome Samadashvili and Tinatin Bokuchava, members of the National Movement faction. According to the Parliament’s press office, the lawmakers briefed the Venice Commission experts on the faction’s opinions and recommendations about the bill on lifetime appointment of Supreme Court judges developed by the parliamentary majority.

Members of the Alliance of Patriots–Social-Democrats faction, as well as independent MPs Eka Beselia, Zviad Kvachantiradze, Levan Gogichaishvili and Davit Chichinadze also held separate meetings with the Venice Commission delegation.

Also on April 1, members of the European Georgia faction met with the Venice Commission delegation and briefed them on the faction’s vision about selection of Supreme Court judicial candidates.

Head of EU delegation to Georgia

On April 5, Sophio Kiladze, chair of the Parliament’s Committee for Human Rights and Civil Integration, met with EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell to discuss the human rights situation in Georgia, the committee activities and the EU role and support to the democratic processes ongoing in the country.

US National War College representatives

On April 5, Chair of the Defense and Security Committee, Irakli Sesiashvili, First Deputy Chair Irakli Beraia and committee member, Paata Mkheidze met with the students and instructors of the US National War College paying a working visit to Georgia. According to the Parliament’s press office, the guests were briefed about defense reforms, NATO integration and security challenges in the region.

On April 5, members of the National Movement faction met with the representatives of the US National War College to discuss the challenges facing Georgia.

Austrian Ambassador to Georgia

On April 5, members of the Alliance of Patriots–Social-Democrats faction, Vice Speaker Irma Inashvili and Chair of the Faction, Giorgi Lomia met with Austrian Ambassador, Arad Benkö to discuss the political arrangement model of Austria.

Diplomatic corps and international organizations

On April 5, Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze met with foreign diplomats accredited in Tbilisi as well as representatives of international organizations. According to the Parliament’s press office, the parties discussed electoral legislation and amendments to the laws on political parties. Moreover, all recommendations given by OSCE/ODIHR observation mission were discussed thoroughly. Speaker Kobakhidze noted that “we will share the OSCE/ODIHR recommendations by introducing significant changes to the Election Code and the Organic Law on Political Union of Citizens.”

Visits

On April 1, members of the Parliament’s Finance and Budget Committee, led by Chairman Irakli Kovzanadze, as well as the delegation of the State Audit Office paid a working visit to Latvia and Finland. The meetings were held in the Parliaments of Latvia and Finland as well as the two countries’ audit companies.

The Georgian parliamentary delegation led by Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze left for Doha on April 6 to attend the 140th IPU Assembly on a topic “Parliament as the Platform to Enhance Education for Peace, Security and the Rule of Law.” During the visit, Speaker Kobakhidze met with IPU President, Gabriela Cuevas Barron and the heads of delegations of the IPU member states.

Other events

  • The Foreign Relations Committee’s Thematic Inquiry Group on Disinformation and Propaganda holds working meeting

On April 1, the Foreign Relations Committee’s Thematic Inquiry Group on Disinformation and Propaganda held a working meeting, where the opinions of local and international organizations on disinformation and propaganda issues were discussed.

According to the Parliament’s press office, 30 organizations expressed desire to cooperate with the inquiry group.

  • First thematic session of the Parliament’s working group on draft decentralization strategy

On April 1, the Parliament’s working group on the draft decentralization strategy (2019-2025) held its first session chaired by Zaza Gabunia, chairman of the parliamentary committee for regional policy and self-governance. Representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure presented the draft decentralization strategy, which is based on three main directions: increasing the powers of local self-governments, financial and material empowerment of self-governments, as well as engagement and transparency.

  • Parliament Speaker about introduction of death penalty in occupied Abkhazia

On April 5, Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze commented on the decision of Abkhaz government to introduce death penalty for drug-related crimes, saying that “the decision has been made by the illegitimate government and therefore, it will not be correct to make any serious comments. It points at the very difficult situation existing in the occupied regions and our northern neighbor has to be blamed for it.”

This post is also available in: Georgian Russian

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