Georgian Dream Hints Backtracking on EU-brokered Constitutional Amendments
The chairman of the Georgian Dream, Irakli Kobakhidze, said that the planned constitutional changes must be implemented from 2024. The changes include, among other things, holding any two subsequent parliamentary elections in full proportional system and with a 2% (instead of 5%) threshold.
Irakli Kobakhidze told reporters on November 30 that there was no need to make these changes, hinting that the ruling team might not accept the changes made under the April 19th agreement.
The package of amendments has already been adopted by the Parliament in the first reading on September 7, and it needs the support of 2 more hearings to enter into force. According to the current rules, from 2024 Georgia will move to a fully proportional electoral system, and the electoral threshold will be 5%. Before that, any snap elections will still be mixed – 120/30 will be held in principle.
The chairman of the Georgian Dream also noted that the adoption of the constitutional amendments, which need the support of 113 deputies in the 150-member parliament, is in the hands of the ruling party, which has 84 deputies in the legislature.
According to Irakli Kobakhidze, the adoption of the changes will be a “small gift” for the opposition, which will ultimately depend on the “goodwill” of the Georgian Dream and the “behaviour” of its opponents.
The Prime Ministers of the Associated Trio met with representatives of the European Union
The Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, met with his Ukrainian and Moldovan counterparts, Denis Shmigal and Natalia Gavrilitsa, in Brussels on November 30, where they discussed the Eastern Partnership summit scheduled for December 15.
According to the press service of the Georgian government, the prime ministers discussed their priorities and expectations in the context of the summit. The Prime Ministers stressed that the three countries of the Associated Trio “wish to access the Common Economic Space of the European Union and to intensify sectoral cooperation as much as possible to ensure the physical integration of the Associated Countries into the European Union.”
According to the same information, Gharibashvili noted that it is very important that the final declaration of the summit reflects Georgia’s European choice and European aspirations, as well as strong support for the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, priority points for Georgia are – connectivity, transport and communication links with the European Union and taking concrete steps in this direction.
Saakashvili’s case heard in Tbilisi City Court
Mikheil Saakashvili, accused of “embezzling large amounts of state budget funds” (Case commonly referred as “Jacket Case”), attended the hearing for the first time on December 2 and delivered a two-hour speech in the Tbilisi City Court.
Accused of embezzling GEL 9,024,367, the third president of Georgia pleaded not guilty. He said that “today the biggest corrupt people” are prosecuting “the most famous anti-corruption activist in the world” in a country that has been “eaten by corruption”. The prosecutor’s office believes that Mikheil Saakashvili has pleaded guilty to several facts at the trial. According to the defence, all doubts were dispelled on December 2.
Defendant Mikheil Saakashvili repeatedly called the case, which has been pending in the Tbilisi City Court for six years, “governed by shameful” and “Russian instincts.”
Mikheil Saakashvili says that he does not teach anyone to be smart, does not apologize or demand anything, but “in good faith and fairly” believes that discussions with him will take place after his release and is ready to apologize for more if he is convinced this being necessary.
The convicted ex-president, as he says himself, considers it necessary to appear before a fair court and answer all the questions, “not before actors”, but before real prosecutors and judges.