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Parliament Fails to Reach Quorum Again, Preventing Vote on Investigative Commission

During today’s plenary session, for the second day in a row, the ruling party prevented the vote on the creation of the parliamentary investigation commission to look into the allegations of corruption in the judiciary, by not registering for the session. As a result, there was no quorum for the vote to take place.

Prior to the registration procedure, the chairman of “Georgian Dream,” Irakli Kobakhidze, reiterated his support for the judges. “We once again declare our support for the independence of the court and our solidarity with Georgian judges. Therefore, today as well, the parliamentary majority will not pass the registration,” Kobakhidze stated. Parliamentary Speaker Shalva Papuashvili also supported the decision.

Only 52 MPs registered, whereas at least 76 MPs are needed for a quorum.

The opposition came out with the initiative to create the commission last week in response to the recent sanctioning of four judges by the US State Department for their alleged involvement in “significant corruption.”

Both, the ruling party representatives and the opposition politicians addressed the issue after the session failed to reach a quorum:

Irakli Kobakhidze, Chair of the Georgian Dream

At a press-briefing following the quorum failure, he said: “This is a matter of principle for us, of course. The representatives of the UNM, the foreign agents, can’t set up a commission of inquiry in relation to the court. In any case, the court will remain independent. This is our main achievement since 2012 and we will not allow anyone to overshadow this achievement in any way”. He also said: “The National Movement is a bloody criminal force, we will not let the National Movement talk about the court” and called the parties who initiated the setup of the commission a “collective UNM”.

Mamuka Mdinaradze, Chair of Georgian Dream Parliamentary Faction

 “Of course we have not changed yesterday’s decision and our solidarity with the Georgian court! …We were once unjustly denied candidate status, and this was confirmed by the criteria published by the European Union…What else the creation of an [inquiry] commission… can serve now, if not to sabotage… The “National Movement” and its whole grouping cannot imagine that under the “Georgian Dream” rule Georgia will get the status of a candidate, and they are doing everything to prevent this [from happening]”.

“They are imposing visa restrictions on Georgian judges, and you, who call yourself an opposition, instead of standing by the country’s side and saying that this is not allowed without evidence, on the contrary, you say that on the basis of that we should create an evidence and a commission”.

Archil Talakvadze, Vice-Chair of the Parliament, Georgian Dream

“Today, the Georgian judiciary is diametrically freer and more independent than when we took over the government, and this is said not only by the ruling power, but also by all reliable data related to the court… According to all the data, the citizens today consider this court to be much freer and fairer than when we took over the government… We tell the opposition directly that what they want is neither an independent nor a free court, nor an objective decision. In fact, they have three specific tasks: first, to prevent the implementation of the European recommendations and the granting of candidate status to Georgia; second, to intervene in the court and somehow regain influence, to attack the independence of the judiciary; and third, to take revenge on the court and the judges who convicted their guilty political leaders. These are specific tasks. Of course, we did not give them the opportunity to undermine the Georgian court and launch another attack on the judicial system”.

Levan Bezhashvili, UNM

“Once again, these people confirm that Georgian Dream has direct political influence and political patronage over the clan system of the court, so the next step should be to present all this as evidence to our Western partners and demand that the political patrons of the judiciary clan be sanctioned”.

Tamar Kordzaia, independent MP

“The Prime Minister protects the court clan and its powerful figures, and Georgian Parliament is trying to cover up the problems of corruption in the judiciary. This is a clear confirmation that the Georgian Dream protects the court clan. Even the creation of the Commission itself could not provide a better lustration of the current authorities, than what they have done in these two days”.

Giorgi Vashadze, Strategy Aghmashenebeli

“Some Georgian Dream members have been demanding proof of the existence of the judicial clan – here is the proof! The regime protects the clan, it is connected to the clan and has created all the evidence against itself”.

Khatia Dekanoidze, independent MP

“It is a fact that the clan and the Georgian Dream are one, and it is a fact that there will be new sanctions, and these new sanctions can easily include political figures. The government is afraid, it was afraid to create an investigative commission…

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