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GD Mulls Refusing EU-Brokered Rule on Chief Prosecutor Selection

Ruling Georgian Dream party chair Irakli Kobakhidze today spoke against introducing a 3/5 majority vote for electing the Prosecutor General, as the discussions on the constitutional amendments initially envisaged in the EU-brokered April 19 deal began at the Parliament.

The current draft amendments stipulate that the first two attempts at electing the Prosecutor General require a 3/5 vote, and if unsuccessful, subsequent vote requires a simple majority. The deal envisaged a greater involvement of the opposition in selecting key public officials, such as the chief prosecutor and the head of Central Election Commission.

But, MP Kobakhidze said endorsing the “absurd” provision – which GD agreed to as part of the April 19 agreement in spring – would be “insulting” to him as a lawyer.

The ruling party, with its 84 MPs, falls shorts of the 113 votes needed to amend the Constitution. MP Kobakhidze said the discussions with the opposition will continue through September 7. Parliament fall session is also set to commence on the same day.

The amendment package also covers reducing to four from seven the number of MPs necessary to form parliamentary factions, and making the next two parliamentary elections fully proportional with a reduced threshold of 2%, two provisions the Georgian Dream remains committed to. 

The opposition parties have not yet taken stances on whether they will back the changes without the rule on the selection procedure of the chief prosecutor, but MPs have already leveled criticisms at the ruling party. “It seems they intend to entirely do away with the part of the agreement that is concerned with the justice [reforms],” stressed MP Khatia Dekanoidze of United National Movement. 

MP Giorgi Vashadze of Strategy Aghmashenebeli pointed out that Georgia’s Western partners recommend for the Prosecutor General to be “objective, impartial, a person selected with some agreement.” The GD does not want the prosecutor to be a person selected by consensus, he noted, however.

The ruling party declared the April 19 deal “annulled” on July 28. MP Kobakhidze cited the “lack of pressure” from international partners on the UNM, among others, to join the deal as a reason for withdrawal. But he vowed the GD would follow through with constitutional amendments, judiciary reforms and amnesty law on the anti-occupation unrests of June 19-21, 2019. 

This article was updated at 17:41. 

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