People Power Says USAID-backed Rule of Law Project “Attack on Sovereignty”
On January 23, the anti-Western “People Power” movement issued a statement accusing the USAID-funded Rule of Law Program in Georgia of “attacking Georgia’s sovereignty,” and advocating for “the return of the opposition United National Movement influence in the judiciary.”
Asked about the statement by the journalists on the same day, Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the ruling “Georgian Dream” agreed that there are “certain attempts” to return the UNM influence to the judiciary and pointed out that “it is important that our international partners do not support it.”
Kobakhidze argued in October 2022, that the Georgian Dream has “no significant differences” in values with its spinoff faction, the People Power, but the two differ in the ways they choose to frame certain issues.
In the new statement, which marks the first time People Power targeted a specific USAID program, People Power said it “tries to subjugate the Georgian judiciary to foreign control” and called on the “society” to “appropriately assess [program’s] overt attempt to infiltrate the judicial system and reestablish the political sway of the [U.S] embassy and the UNM.” They also called for the government to respond by “taking the relevant measures.”
People Power has been at the forefront of the U.S.-bashing and has also targeted civil society organizations. On December 29 they announce plans to submit a draft law in January 2023 that would mandate the creation of the registry for “agents of foreign influence” and “regulate the dissemination of fake news by media.”
The East-West Management Institute (EWMI) is implementing the USAID-funded Rule of Law Program in Georgia since 2015. The ongoing, second stage of this program is to last till 2026. According to EWMI, the Program is working to build the independence and effectiveness of justice sector institutions, enhance access to justice for all segments of society, and increase citizen and institutional oversight of justice sector institutions.
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