Despite a polarised and acrimonious election environment,
the 2012 parliamentary and 2013 presidential elections mark the
first time in Georgia’s recent history that the political power
has changed hands peacefully and democratically through the ballot
box. The emergence of a strong and experienced opposition, combined with
a well-organised ruling coalition, has strengthened the role of
the parliament and parliamentarianism in the political system in
Georgia. The parliament has held ministers accountable, modified
government policies and, on several occasions, used its right of
initiative to introduce new legislation. Moreover, on a number of occasions,
it has managed to find consensus solutions to major political challenges.
These are important developments and a major evolution of the political
environment in the country.
The Monitoring Committee takes note of the large number of
allegations of possible criminal conduct by former government officials
during their tenure. At the same time, it is seriously concerned
about allegations that the arrests and prosecution of a number of
former government officials are politically motivated and amount
to selective and revanchist justice. The Georgian authorities are
called upon to ensure that the investigation and prosecution of
former government officials are conducted impartially, transparently
and in full respect of the principles of a fair trial, as enshrined
in the European Convention on Human Rights.
The committee welcomes the comprehensive reforms announced
by the Georgian authorities, including constitutional reform, to
further strengthen the democratic institutions in the country and
to ensure a genuinely independent judiciary and adversarial justice
system. Georgia has made marked progress in its democratic development
over recent years. It is now important for it to overcome the antagonism,
polarisation and sense of revenge that are still present in the
political environment and for political stakeholders to contribute constructively
to the further democratic consolidation of the country.