08TBILISI2121, GEORGIA: GOG OUTLINES ITS VISION FOR POLITICAL

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2121 2008-11-14 05:05 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO0697
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHNP RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #2121/01 3190505
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 140505Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0414
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL OLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 002121 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA:  GOG OUTLINES ITS VISION FOR POLITICAL 
 
REFORM 
 
REF: TBILISI 1602 
 
1. (SBU)  Summary/Comment:  The Government of Georgia 
recently released a document laying out a variety of 
political reforms currently underway in order to improve 
democracy and pluralism in Georgia.  The document also 
acknowledges the mistakes the government made in its use of 
force to quell the protests in November 2007.  Following 
President Saakashvili's September state of the nation address 
to Parliament (reftel) largely to the letter, the proposed 
(and in some cases completed) reforms include measures to 
strengthen Parliament; increase judicial independence; 
strengthen and increase the role of the opposition; and 
foster a more open media environment.  Although opposition 
members are skeptical of government motivations, 
Saakashvili's administration appears committed to making good 
on President Saakashvili's reform promises as delivered in 
the state of the nation address. End summary/comment. 
 
PARLIAMENTARY REFORMS 
 
2.  (SBU)  In his September address, Saakashvili expressed 
his desire to re-submit the cabinet to a no-confidence vote 
in the Parliament.  The Parliament approved the new PM and 
cabinet on November 1. He additionally pledged to make it 
more difficult for the President to dissolve Parliament, and 
to simplify procedures for Parliament to call no-confidence 
votes against the cabinet.  The GOG document envisions that 
both proposals will be adopted by the end of November.  The 
government proposed to limit the right of the President to 
call for new Parliamentary elections.  Finally, a new law on 
the Chamber of Control is expected to strengthen 
Parliamentary minority oversight on budgetary expenditures. 
The document listed additional recent changes that allow the 
seated opposition factions the right to nominate candidates 
for three vice-chairmanships of Parliament; one deputy 
chairmanship of each Parliamentary committee; the chair of ad 
hoc investigative commissions; and simplified rules for 
establishing a Parliamentary factions as concrete examples of 
the GOG's willingness to increase and facilitate the role of 
the opposition in Parliament. 
 
JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE 
 
3.  (SBU)  In his state of the nation address, Saakashvili 
called the judicial system the "backbone and guarantor of our 
democracy", and vowed to make the judiciary more just and 
independent.  As many experts have advised, the GOG is 
proposing lifetime appointment of judges to decrease the 
politicization of the judiciary.  Other proposed legislation 
to reform the judiciary is expected to pass without 
opposition in December and will include: continuation of the 
right to a speedy trial; procedural rules changes to shift to 
a more adversarial process; introduction of exclusionary 
rules on illegally obtained evidence; and finalizing the 
principle of inadmissibility of out of court statements.  All 
represent concrete steps to move toward more western style 
civil and criminal procedures. 
 
COOPERATION WITH THE OPPOSITION 
 
4.  (SBU)  The GOG cited a number of initiatives to show its 
willingness to work constructively with the opposition. 
President Saakashvili has already followed through on a 
promise in the state of the nation address to give the 
Parliamentary minority additional seats in the Group of 
Confidence (a special parliamentary group charged with 
monitoring defense spending, including top secret projects), 
and one minority member seat on the High Council of Justice 
(akin to a Judiciary Committee).  Also cited are the 
formation of the Anti-Crisis Council and Temporary Commission 
on Military Aggression and Other Acts of Russia Against the 
Qon Military Aggression and Other Acts of Russia Against the 
Territorial Integrity of Georgia, both of which are 
high-profile projects garnering an intense amount of media 
attention.  Both are headed by members of the Parliamentary 
opposition. 
 
INCREASED MEDIA FREEDOM 
 
5.  (SBU)  The GOG announced the appointment of an opposition 
representative in the Georgian National Communications 
Commission in order to involve the opposition directly in the 
process of decision-making for national programming.  The GOG 
recently introduced legislative guarantees to ensure regular 
broadcasting of political talk-shows with equal participation 
of all major political parties.  Currently, Georgian Public 
Broadcasting Channel 1 holds a daily political talkshow and 
expects to launch another in December.  Likewise, Rustavi TV 
2 expects to launch its political talkshow soon, also slated 
for December. 
 
POLITICAL PARTIES/ELECTION CODE 
 
TBILISI 00002121  002 OF 002 
 
 
 
6.  (SBU)  The GOG will finance all qualified political 
parties.  Basic funding will increase and will also include 
the resumption of government funding for those parties who 
lost it due to their refusal to take their Parliamentary 
seats.  The time frame for implementation is the end of 
November.  The GOG intends to establish a working group with 
participation from the UNM, opposition partie
s, international 
organizations, and NGOs to draft a new election code 
according to international standards to ensure freer and 
fairer elections in the future.  Post will continue to 
monitor developments in this arena closely and will report on 
progress to revise the election code. 
TEFFT

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