Georgian Parliament Authorizes to Extend State of Emergency

On April 22, the Georgian Parliament confirmed the presidential order at an emergency sitting with 97 MPs voting in favor and ten against, clearing the way for extending a nationwide state of emergency effective until May 22. 

The lawmakers first gave the government the go-ahead to temporarily restrict a number of rights and freedoms in an effort to contain the further spread of the novel coronavirus on March 21.

Addressing the parliament to extend a month-long state of emergency without additional restrictions, President Salome Zurabishvili said the step aims to prevent further spread of COVID-19 and limit the community transmission of the disease.

President Zurabishvili said that, on the first stage, Georgia has managed “to maximally control the situation and protect the country from extreme complications.” However, she said, “current community transmission will further aggravate the situation” if the state of emergency is not further extended.

Today, there can be no different opinions over extension of the state of emergency. We should listen to healthcare experts, doctors, and follow international recommendations and practice,” President Zurabishvili addressed the lawmakers.

She then added that it is not time for “populism and false promises,” and that everything is done to ensure that the state of emergency extension would not hinder “timely approval of constitutional changes, [and] consequently, the electoral calendar and our democratic path.”

Political Assessments

Some opposition lawmakers had claimed earlier that if the government would not submit a specific plan on assisting the population, they would not support the decision to extend the state of emergency.

In his parliamentary remarks today MP Roman Gitsiridze of the United National Movement party slammed the government for “selectively” imposed state of emergency regulations that affected certain businesses. 

“You have made a lot of mistakes,” Gotsiridze addressed the ruling team, adding that “if you do not have a clear plan [on how to overcome economic fallout caused by the pandemic], we cannot share the responsibility [on extending the state of emergency].”

European Georgia MP Zurab Chiaberashvili said the Georgian authorities have failed to introduce detailed anti-crisis healthcare and economic plans that would save people from ”hunger and poverty.” 

The ruling Georgian Dream party MP Dimitri Khundadze, who chairs Parliamentary Healthcare Committee, said it is too early to lift restrictions. He said “satisfactory” epidemiological situation in Georgia, as opposed to other nations, owes to adequate restrictive measures taken by the authorities.. 

As of April 22, 11:55, Georgia has confirmed 411 cases of the novel coronavirus. 98 infected patients have now recovered and undergo self-isolation. 5 patients have died from coronavirus. 3 infected Georgian citizens have been transferred from neighboring countries to Georgia for treatment.

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