Levan Ioseliani, a member of the opposition Citizens Party, becomes the new Ombudsman of Georgia
New Georgian Ombudsman
The Parliament of Georgia has elected Levan Ioseliani, a member of the Citizens Party, as the new public defender for a term of six years with 96 voting for, 0 against — and with 99 deputies registered to vote, this implies 3 abstentions.
Before the election, opposition MP Tamar Kordzaya presented arguments in favor of Levan Ioseliani’s candidacy:
“First, this fall Georgian Dream will have the opportunity to make decisions without any opposition at all, and I don’t want this to happen.
Second, I absolutely agree with what Khatuna Samnidze [chairman of the opposition Republican Party] said — we have to make a political compromise.
I also express concern that this vote is taking place today, in this difficult situation, when on the one hand we have declared war on the “law on foreign agents”, which we promise to send to the Venice Commission, and on the other we are voting for Levan Ioseliani. However, our position confirms that we can talk to anyone. And my support is based on the fact that Levan Ioseliani answered all my critical questions.”
Khatuna Samnidze said that Ioseliani is a figure who emerged as a result of compromise. The previous process of discussing candidates for this position failed, as the opposition was unable to convince the majority to vote for their proposed candidates.
“Now there is a different process going on, and given the political context in the country, consensus is especially important,” Samnidze said.
Salome Samadashvili, a member of the Lelo opposition party, did not support Ioseliani’s candidacy. In her view, his election will not meet the requirements of the European Union.
“We had several options to choose an independent and very strong and highly qualified candidate, and we would have already implemented the recommendation of the European Union. But in fact, Georgian Dream [the ruling party] sabotaged the process of appointing an independent Public Defender.
And today we must approve one person for this post without competition, after we rejected qualified candidates, because he once held a political post,” Samadashvili said.
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- Georgian Ombudsman’s report: July 5 pogrom, Ninotsminda orphanage, cartographers’ case in focus
On December 22, 2022, the Parliament of Georgia failed to select any of the 19 candidates who applied for the position of Public Defender. To elect a candidate for ombudsman, the votes of 90 deputies of parliament are needed. But since no party has that many seats in parliament, votes from both the ruling party and the opposition are required.
Mamuka Mdinaradze, chairman of the Georgian Dream parliamentary faction, said on December 21 that the ombudsman would not be elected at this session because the opposition does not support any of the five candidates proposed by the majority.
NGOs nominated Ana Abashidze, Nazi Janezashvili and Giorgi Burjanadze, whom a significant part of the opposition supported.