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CSOs: Failure to Elect Public Defender Harms Georgia’s EU Integration 

In a joint statement released on December 23, a group of 20 civil society organizations expressed “concern” over the Parliament’s failure to elect a new Public Defender, noting that “it poses a threat to Georgia’s EU integration process.”    

The CSOs stressed that two candidates for the Public Defender nominated by civil society organizations received top marks from the official commission, and were backed by a large part of the parliamentary opposition. They said a new Public Defender would have been elected if the majority party voted in favor.

“The ruling party’s opposition to these persons is clearly political, linked to their lack of partisan loyalty to the government,” the CSOs stated.

They also clarified that although the Georgian Dream did not nominate its candidate, as promised, it “categorically refused to support the candidates with high qualification, integrity, and reputation nominated by the civil society.”   

The CSOs noted that the election could have advanced Georgia towards at least three EU recommendations for candidacy. Firstly, the election of an impartial, independent and competent person as a Public Defender is one of the recommendations. Secondly, an independent Public Defender would also help the country reduce polarization – meeting another of the EU’s recommendations. And thirdly, the election of CSO backed candidate would have contributed to the recommendation of better engaging CSOs in decision-making.

The CSOs called on the government to cooperate with the opposition and civil society to fulfill all the twelve recommendations in a timely manner.  The joint statement is signed, among others, by the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), Transparency International Georgia (TIG), Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI), and Social Justice Center. 

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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