President Wants Government Session over Covert Recordings
President Giorgi Margvelashvili has formally asked the Government to hold a meeting with his participation to deliberate on “effective functioning of state institutions and protection of citizens’ rights and freedoms.” The President made the announcement during his press briefing today.
Margvelashvili’s request comes after a set of covert recordings were published by Georgian media outlets, implicating senior officials in criminal offenses and causing wide-spread political and public condemnation.
The President said developments surrounding Iberia TV and Omega Group are “alarming.” He said the authorities’ response to “allegations of criminal dealings, racketeering and abuse of power” was “inadequate for a political force that has a responsibility to govern the country.”
“These issues are neither laughable, nor ludicrous,” he stressed, referring to GDDG leadership attempts to downplay the allegations.
“The Georgian public has a feeling that state institutions have been weakened to the point that endangers effective protection of human rights, freedoms, rule of law and private property,” President Margvelashvili added, calling for “adequate assessment and measures.”
“I see the solution in finding right diagnosis and taking corresponding measures through discussions with the Government of Georgia; therefore, I am using my constitutional right and am addressing the Prime Minister to convene a cabinet session in coming days,” he said.
Message to the army, cannabis cultivation law
In his remarks, the President also addressed the servicemen, apparently in reference to Salome Zurabishvili’s controversial Russo-Georgian war remarks.
Margvelashvili said he does not want “the political turbulence to spill over to the army.” “These political debates should not affect you; rest assured that your service to Georgia, which is occupied by the Russian Federation, is valued by Georgian citizens,” he noted.
“The right of Georgia to annihilate any enemy that invades [Georgia’s] territory and to protect its sovereignty is the foundation of its statehood; your courage on the battlefield was and will always be valued; and there can be no question about it!,” President Margvelashvili added.
He also spoke strongly against the government-sponsored bill on cannabis cultivation, saying he is is “absolutely against the idea of industrial cultivation of drugs.” He said he has two reasons – that the country won’t be able to control it effectively, and that cannabis production will “harm Georgia’s international image.”
- This is the third time President Margvelashvili has requested the government to hold a session with his participation. In November 2014, he called for a meeting to discuss foreign policy-related issues, while in October 2015 he requested a sitting over energy security. Both requests were ignored by the government.
- According to the Constitution of Georgia, the President is entitled to request “particular matters” to be discussed at Government sittings and participate in the discussion. In the new constitution, which is to enter into force upon new President’s inauguration, the President will no longer be able to enjoy this right.
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