thea tsulukiani

Minister of Justice Thea Tsulukiani. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The National Movement party has left the inter-agency commission, which controls election processes in the country, as a sign of protest.

UNM members claim the commission chairman, Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani, said at a closed session meeting that her goal is to ‘destroy the National Movement.’

The minister claims she hasn’t made such a statement and the non-governmental organizations which attended the session confirm that she didn’t say anything like that.

The inter-agency commission is staffed by law enforcement bodies. Until summer, the secretary of the Security Council chaired the commission. Other members are representatives of political parties and NGOs, who are allowed to attend sessions, as well as representatives of international organizations which observe election issues in the country.

In summer, responsibility for the commission was transferred from the Security Council to the Justice Ministry.

On Friday, Tina Bokuchava from the National Movement left the session as a sign of protest. Later the party issued a statement which says that the UNM accuses Tsulukiani for attempting to ‘destroy the opposition party.’

The statement says that the minister confirmed at a session that her goal is to destroy the UNM and that she has achieved it in her opinion. The statement continues that the minister ‘a number of times has revealed her unprofessional and unserious attitude toward members of the commission, including non-governmental organizations.’

The party refuses to participate in the working process of the inter-agency commission, but will continue sending letters to the commission to inform about violations.

Tsulukiani says she thinks this is a form of sabotage and claims that during the session Bokuchava was the one who appealed to her claiming that her goal is to destroy the National Movement and that she responded that the party is destroying itself.

NGOs which attended the session on Saturday confirmed what Tsulukiani said, but their statement underlines that ‘the Minister of Justice, as chairman of the commission, is obliged to facilitate the session, and she has more obligation of endurance.’

The NGOs’ statement reads that they as witnesses can confirm that during the session there was a dispute between the chairman of the commission and the UNM representative, when Bokuchava told the Minister that she wants to destroy the UNM.

“Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani responded that they have already managed that successfully,” says the statement, which is signed by ISFED, Transparency International Georgia and Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association.

It continues saying that it is not the first time there is counterproductive dialogue during a session meeting and that it took place toward not only UNM representatives, but also other persons who present information about violations in the election period.

The NGOs call on all parties to return to the working process, as an counterproductive environment at sessions will harm the effective work of the commission and the trust in its activity.

The organizations think it will be reasonable if UNM returned to the commission and the chairman of the commission made sure there is a constructive environment at session meetings.