Transparency International, a Berlin-based global civil society organisation on fight against corruption, is “deeply concerned by the political crisis and backlash against independent civil society groups in Georgia, which risk harming democratic progress in the country and undermining attempts to fight corruption.”
In a statement released on November 30, the organization called on the Georgian government “to respect citizens’ right to peaceful assembly and to find a constructive way to reengage with civil society.”
“Events in Georgia are a cause for concern. Attempts to discredit civil society, and other critical voices, undermine the foundations of a healthy democracy. We are particularly alarmed by continued threats made against our chapter, Transparency International Georgia, and other civil society groups,” Delia Ferreira Rubio, Chair of Transparency International said.
— Transparency Int'l (@anticorruption) November 30, 2019
According to the statement, Transparency International has previously warned about the signs of state capture in Georgia. “The failure to proceed with electoral reform weakens the health of Georgia’s democracy and threatens future anti-corruption efforts,” the organization said.
Despite protests, the ruling party claims that the electoral system will not be revised and that the 2020 parliamentary elections will be held through the mixed electoral system.
The recent meeting between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition, held upon the initiative of foreign diplomats accredited in Georgia and international partners aimed at reaching a consensus over amending the electoral system, also proved unsuccessful on November 30.
In his recent interview with TV Imedi, chairman of ruling Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili slammed Georgian CSOs, among them Transparency International Georgia and its head Eka Gigauri, accusing them of following ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement’s agenda.