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Gov’t and majority grill President’s annual report

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, April 10
The Georgian Dream government and the parliamentary majority both expressed their dissatisfaction with President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s April 7 annual report, in which the President touched upon the “crisis in the court system” and “obscure processes in media”, as well as the failure of the ruling team to carry out vital reforms.

The President, whose speech was attended by 99 lawmakers, along with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, seven Cabinet ministers, the head of the Supreme Court and representatives of the diplomatic corps, began his speech with criticisms of the Georgian Dream majority.

He stressed that the ruling team failed to use their constitutional majority in Parliament (116 people of the 150-member legislative body) to settle key problems, and instead had turned the party into a “closed system” that does not listen to others.

The President dedicated a large portion of his speech to the “crisis in the court system”, and proposed the creation of a qualified expert group which would reveal the causes of the problems in the judiciary in order to address them in a proper way.

Speaking about the media, Margvelashvili highlighted the importance of free media and independent actions of different media outlets, and said he was waiting for the end of the “dangerous and the non-transparent process in the media environment”, allegedly referring to the notorious ownership dispute of the Rustavi 2 private broadcaster.

In his report, Margvelashvili spoke about the hard economic situation in the country and stated that without relevant sharing of the country’s existing wealth and creating jobs, “an increase in investments would remain as useless statistics.”

Addressing crimes, the President said the topic was of significant public interest.

He stressed that the fight against crime was unlikely to be effective without programs that would unite various bodies and the public around certain issues.

As an example, he named a program against family violence that was based on the coordinative activities of different states bodies and the public.

A significant part of the report was about security issues and Russia's ongoing regional aggression.

Margvelashvili stressed the importance of the elaboration of a common security plan, “the implementing of which would transform the state, armed forces and the public into a united defence system”.

He stated that through the support of its allies, Georgia should create an “anti-annexation policy” that would address Russia’s occupant actions on the Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The President also addressed the heads of Georgia’s partner states and their representatives “be Georgia’s voice” at this year’s NATO summit.

Margvelashvili also addressed the discussions about the form of electing future presidents, and stated that the issue must be decided by the people and not political leaders.

Commenting on the report, the Prime Minister stated he wished the speech had been “more comprehensive, deeper and more unbiased.”

He stated it was foreign organisations’ and not only the government’s view that Georgia has shown “tangible progress” in the economic, judicial and democratic institutions’ development fields.

The ruling team representatives shared the Prime Minister’s view, and also accused the President of “disrespecting” the country's democratic institutions.

Unlike the majority, the minority stressed that Margvelashvili has touched upon all the issues that should have been addressed by the President.

Representatives of the President’s administration stated that criticism from the majority and the government was related to the fact that they hear only what they want to hear.