Majority Overrides Presidential Veto on Judicial Reform

TBILISI – Majority MPs of the Parliament did not approve President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s recommendations for judicial reform, and the President’s veto was overridden late on February 8th  by 97 votes.

The parliamentary opposition- The United National Movement (UNM), Movement for Freedom-European Georgia, and the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia (APG) - supported the president’s motivated remarks, however, as the ruling party Georgian Dream (GD) has a constitutional majority in the parliament with 115 MPs, the veto was easily overridden.

The President vetoed the bill on January 24 saying the legislative package included some provisions that contradict the principles of judicial independence and impartiality of judges. 

He offered six recommendations to the parliament in order to improve legislation. They were:

  • Court chairs should be elected by the judges, and they should not be elected by the High Concil of Justice.

  • The same person should not be a chairperson of the court and chamber.

  • Judges should have the opportunity to be represented in the High Council of Justice (HCJ) as the court chairs will no longer be able to be members of the council.

  • Rules about collecting and spreading information on each candidate in the process of selecting judges should be specified.

  • A judge should not undergo a three-year probation period before being appointed the position.

  • The number of Supreme Court judges should be defined by law.

Giorgi Abashishvili, Head of the Presidential Administration, cannot understand why Magvelashvili’s remarks were rejected.

“The President’s remarks were aimed at increasing the independency and quality of the judicial system and were mainly based on the Venice Commission's opinions,” he said.

Majority member, Mamuka Mdinaradze says that the veto was overridden because the President’s remarks were not well-grounded.

"We are carrying out an unprecedented judicial reform, which is called the Third Wave. This reform will have a positive effect on our country and people,” he claimed.

 By Thea Morrison

09 February 2017 12:17