19.12.2011 â€“ The
Commission of the Council of Europe at its last plenary session (Venice, 16-17
December 2011) adopted two opinions concerning Georgia, namely on:
a draft new Election
Code (on 16 December 2011) and
draft amendments and
additions to the Law on Political Unions of Citizens (on 17 December 2011).
The Commission held an
exchange of views with representatives of Georgian national authorities, i.e.
First Vice-Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Mr M. Machavariani, who earlier
this year requested the two opinions on the compliance of the above-mentioned
standards and best practices;
Mr A. Minashvili (MP)
and Mr O. Kakhidze (Ministry of Justice).
Conclusions of the
Commission and OSCE/ODIHR:
As for the draft new
Election Code, it is conducive to the conduct of democratic elections.
Nevertheless, several issues are of concern, the most important one being
inequality in the size of electoral districts (from some 6.000 to some 160.000
voters). The Georgian authorities informed of their intention to engage in
reform of the administrative system, which would lead to changes in the size of
districts. The Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR strongly recommend such
The other issues of concern
inter alia are as follows:
lack of effective
mechanisms to facilitate the participation of women in elections;
remaining shortcomings in the
political party and campaign finances;
restrictions of the
right to stand for election, including overly long residency requirements
and â€śhealth testsâ€ť for candidates and
electoral complaints and appeals procedures.
Concerning the draft Law
on amendments and additions to the Organic Law on Political Unions of Citizens,
international standards in the field of political finance and in particular many
GRECO recommendations, have been successfully addressed, with a view to
establishing a more uniform and transparent legal framework. In particular, the
following positive points should be underlined:
- the ban of corporate donations
(donations by legal persons);
- the introduction of a
requirement for bank wire transfers of donations; and
- the inclusion of the Control
Chamber (Audit Office) as a body controlling the reports of the parties.
few further improvements are recommended. The key recommendations concern
corporate donations to campaign funds, and the separation of powers between the
Chamber of Control and the Central Electoral Commission.
improving the legal framework itself, the Commission and OSCE/ODHIR stressed the
importance of a
full and effective
implementation of the laws
which is necessary in order to ensure conduct of elections in line with
international standards. In this respect, relevant public authorities should be
fully informed of their obligations under the Code and other
elections-related laws. In addition, enhanced enforcement of
election-related laws by all levels of the election administration, the Ministry
of Interior, the General Prosecutor, and the courts is also required. Finally,
effective implementation of these forthcoming improved legal provisions should
be conducted in line with the principle of legal certainty, above all in
view of the 2012 parliamentary elections.
The final texts of the two
adopted opinions are public and will be available on the site of the Commission
www.venice.coe.int on 20 December 2011.
Tatyana Mychelova, external
Office +33 388 41 3868,
For more information see: www.coe.int / www.coe.ge