TBILISI, DFWatch – European liberal politicians visited an opposition billionaire in Tbilisi Thursday to contribute their views on how democracy can progress in Georgia.
Representatives of the Liberal International, which is an international federation of liberal parties headquartered in London, voiced strong criticism against the way the ruling party in Georgia has arranged things in favor of itself ahead of the parliamentary election in October.
Robert Woodthorpe Browne, who is treasurer at the federation’s London bureau, particularly pointed out that there is no fair access to media in Georgia.
Woodthorpe Browne said it is very important that the media to provide all messages which this or that candidate releases during the election campaign.
Tina Khidasheli, one of the Republicans leaders, told journalists after meeting that she and her colleagues explained to guests what the situation is in Georgian media today.
“We spoke about the dissolution of the TV company Imedi and its current situation. It’s no secreet that the CEO of Imedi is a former economy minister,” she said, referring to Giorgi Arveladze, who apart from economy minister also served as President Saakashvili’s head of staff before taking over the TV company after it had been stormed by police in November 2007 and then taken over in a court case.
Members of the delegation also spoke about Georgia’s amended Election Code and the Venice Commission recommendations given in 2011, saying that those were not fully reflected in Georgian legislation.
They said on March 30 Liberal International adopted special resolution, which says that the Georgian government has not fulfilled requests from the European Council and the Venice Commission when amending the code.
Secretary General of Liberal International, Emil Kirjas, says that the final version of the Election Code is subject for concern, because some citizens do not have equal rights while making choice and equal right is a guiding standard for the Venice Commission.
He also says that the government and opposition should once again sit down together and review the recommendations given by the commission.
Members of delegation expressed concern about Bidzina Ivanishvili’s citizenship issue after they were informed of the long process, when Ivanishvili had his Georgian citizenship revoked and was denied getting it back by the president and governmental bodies.
Georgia wants NATO and EU integration, Robert Woodthorpe Browne says, adding that no such thing happens in the countries which are members of those structures. Georgia is an exception and it’s unacceptable. He also made reference to the recent mass interrogations of opposition supporters by the Chamber of Control.
The delegation arrived in Georgia on the invitation of Georgian Dream, the party established by Bidzina Ivanishvili.