14 Georgian Civil Society Organizations address the International Community

A consortium of 14 Georgian Civil Society Organizations addresses the international community in a document distributed at the 5th Tbilisi International Conference “Now What”. The two-pages statement details their concerns regarding “the quality of democracy, of media and political freedoms, of corruption and eventual state capture.” In the aftermath of the nomination of the new Prime Minister, Giorgi Gakharia by Bidzina Ivanishvili, they denounce the lasting concentration of power by the ruling party, the possible Russian influence over decision-makers and the viability of the institutions.  

They especially blame the lack of political will to address important and lasting issues such as corruption and judicial independence. The document recalls the irregularities of the Presidential elections in Autumn 2018, which have also been denounced by international and domestic observers. It includes cases of the misuse of state resources for partisan campaigning, virulent media campaigns and alleged cases of intimidation. The statement also refers to recent political scandals, such as the ownership changes of Rustavi 2, the current prosecution of founders of TBC Bank, also owners of the Anklia Deep Sea port project, and other criminal cases involving political opponents.

International speakers at the 5th Tbilisi International Conference have also expressed their concerns about the coming elections, in a tense geopolitical context with Russia. It is the opportunity for Georgia to “prove that Georgia deserves all the support and engagement of its foreign partners” said the Ambassador Kurt Volker in his opening speech. During two days, foreign diplomats and experts discuss the future of the Georgian democracy, NATO/EU, the Baltics, Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, Brexit and the US foreign policy. The conference is an important platform for activists and civil society organizations and a key political event for Georgia and its allies.  

By By Lorraine Vaney
10 September 2019 16:42