UNM publicizes U.S. Senator Roger Wicker’s letter to Georgian PM
United National Movement party publicized U.S. Senator Roger Wicker’s letter addressed to Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia. The member of the party Salome Samadashvili held a briefing regarding the letter.
The senior United States Senator and a member of the Republican Party, Roger Wicker said in the letter that “as a strong ally of the Republic of Georgia, he has been glad to see the accomplishments and strides Georgia has made over the last sixteen years.”
The U.S. Senator noted that “since the Rose Revolution, concrete actions to strengthen institutions, including several rounds of judicial reform, and an energized and engaged civil society make Georgia one of the most democratic republics to emerge from the former Soviet Union.”
“I know you share my enthusiasm for continued democratic successes in Georgia, which is why I am writing to raise concern over recent developments. Last month, members of parliament from the Georgian Dream party failed to fulfill a critical promise to pass constitutional amendments that would have implemented a fully proportional electoral system for national elections in 2020.”
“These electoral changes enjoy broad domestic support, and international democracy advocates considered them important for strengthening Georgia’s multiparty democracy. Regrettably, the amendments’ surprise defeat has already begun to damage public confidence in the fairness of next year’s vote,” Senator said.
Senator Wicker is also “concern that a recent spate of criminal prosecutions has created the appearance of the targeting of political opponents and independent media outlets.”
He added that “recent remarks from Georgian Dream Chairman Bidzina Ivanishivili that seem to threaten political opposition with “time in jail” deepen unease about the timing and circumstances of court cases against prominent opposition politicians such as Giga Bokeria and Nika Melia.”
“Georgian Dream’s unilateral appointment of 14 judges to life terms on the Supreme Court last week, despite serious questions about some of their legal qualifications, further undercuts public trust in the rule of law. This large number of approved judges also appears to surpass the “number of Supreme Court judges that is absolutely necessary to render the work of the Supreme Court manageable”–a standard the Venice Commission recommended to address the low level of public trust in the selection process for judicial nominations,” Wicker stated.
The senior United States Senator “encourages the Georgian government to move quickly to adopt an electoral system that would enjoy broad public support and ensure a level playing field for all.
“If these measures go unaddressed, the mounting level of distrust in Georgia’s democratic institutions could undercut the legitimacy of the next year’s election and country’s judiciary writ-large.
“As a longstanding champion of the strategic partnership between our two countries, I wish to see Georgia continue to thrive as a free and prosperous society, secure within the full extent of its internationally-recognized borders,” Senator Wicker said.
Wicker concluded that “in this spirit of cooperation, he hopes Georgia will give serious consideration to these concerns and guarantee freedom of speech, press, assembly, and association for all Georgians, consistent with Georgia’s commitments as an OSCE participating state.”