On February 25, the President of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA), Attila Mesterházy, issued a statement over the recent developments in Georgia.
He said, the NATO PA recognizes “Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO and supports it on its path, particularly through close dialogue and active cooperation with the Parliament of Georgia.” However, he noted that NATO “is founded upon the principles of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law.” “Respect for these principles, including the holding of free and fair elections and an impartial and independent judiciary, form an integral part of the accession process,” the NATO PA President said.
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According to him, the upcoming parliamentary elections “are an opportunity for Georgia to demonstrate its commitment to these values.” Therefore, he regrets that “the pledge to move to fully proportional parliamentary elections in 2020 was rescinded last November.” “This was a step backwards for Georgia’s democracy,” he noted.
In his today’s statement, President Mesterházy also said that the recent ruling of the Supreme Court of Georgia to sent the opposition European Georgia leader Gigi Ugulava to jail “raises further questions and concerns.” “I fear the circumstances surrounding the ruling further heighten political polarization and tensions and put the important political dialogue on electoral reform at risk,” he said.
Encouraging Georgian authorities “to create the conditions for a resumption of dialogue between majority and opposition, for restoring the Georgian people’s trust, and for guaranteeing that the 2020 parliamentary elections can be held in accordance with international standards,” the NATO PA President said, adding that he will do his “utmost to ensure the Assembly continues to support Georgia in this process.”