Member of European Parliament Andrius Kubilius, Co-President of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, sent a letter addressed to Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, reminding Georgian leaders that “European partners need a clear confirmation that progress is being made to ensure the necessary conditions for free and fair parliamentary elections in 2020.”
The letter was published in totality on a Twitter page of United National Movement, Georgian opposition party.
In the letter of May 6, MEP Kubilius (EPP, Lithuania) spoke of the implementation of March 8 Agreement over electoral reform between Georgian ruling and opposition parties, “that was welcomed by all major stakeholders, including the EU and the U.S.”
He noted that the Agreement “has provided hope that both the domestic and international trust in forthcoming elections and maturity of democracy in Georgia will be restored.”
MEP Kubilius stated that “progress on the implementation of the reached agreement is still to be made, including in terms of ‘addressing actions that could be perceived as inappropriate politicization of Georgia’s judicial and electoral processes.’”
Kubilius stressed that he regards five-year sentence for Irakli Okruashvili, opposition leader “as another sign of a growing gap of confidence.”
Kubilius said that despite current challenges posed by the novel coronavirus pandemic, “the expeditious implementation of this Agreement, in letter and in spirit, is of utmost importance.”
“I sincerely hope that Georgian government and the ruling party, with whom currently lies the utmost responsibility, will remain commitment to the letter and spirit of the reached agreement,” the letter concluded.
Georgian Speaker Responds to MEP Kubilius
Georgian Speaker Archil Talakvadze sent a Speaker Talakvadze_MEP Kubilius to MEP Kubilius on May 8.
Hailing the March 8 Agreement as “indeed significant for further strengthening the foundations of a healthy and lively political environment, especially in the run-up to the parliamentary elections this year,” Georgian Speaker said it was signed “by the Georgian Dream in good faith to contribute to free, fair and competitive elections.”
“After signing it, we [Georgian Dream] initiated relevant constitutional amendments reflecting election model agreed with the opposition,” Talakvadze stressed.
Georgian Speaker then highlighted that he “was concerned by the part of [Kubilius’s] letter referring to particular criminal cases.”
“From our side it is understood as your call on the Parliament and the ruling party to politically intervene in the judiciary,” Talakvadze addressed Kubilius, adding that “Georgian courts cannot be ordered or directed by the political parties.”
“Such reading of the situation was unexpected from the Co-President of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly,” Talakvadze noted.
“You may rest assured that judgement on any criminal case will be made by relevant institutions only,” Georgian Speaker addressed MEP Kubilius, adding that “no single criminal case is a part of the political agreement of 8 March.”
Talakvadze stressed that Georgian leadership remains committed to “upholding and striving for the highest standards in the functioning of Georgia’s judicial system and to avoiding any inappropriate politicization of our judicial and electoral processes in the future” as it was mentioned in the Joint Statement of March 8 Agreement.