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Transparency International urges Georgia to reengage with civil society

The Georgian government needs to respect citizens’ right to peaceful assembly and find a constructive way to reengage with civil society, Transparency International Georgia has said.

“Events in Georgia are a cause for concern. Attempts to discredit civil society, and other critical voices, undermine the foundations of a healthy democracy,” Transparency International chair Delia Ferreira Rubio said, adding that the international anti-corruption watchdog is “particularly alarmed by continued threats” made against its Georgian chapter and other civil society groups.

The statement follows continuous anti-government protests in Tbilisi after the country’s ruling Georgian Dream party backtracked on its earlier promises to transform the Georgian election system from mixed representation including MPs from party lists and lawmakers elected from constituencies to a fully proportionate one.

The recent political crisis and backlash against independent Georgian NGOs pose risk to the country’s democratic progress and undermine attempts to fight corruption, TI’s Georgian chapter stressed, noting that “the failure to proceed with electoral reform weakens the health of Georgia’s democracy and threatens future anti-corruption efforts.”

In her last speech at the European Parliament on November 27, Federica Mogherini, the EU’s former foreign and security policy chief said that there is now a risk of “backsliding on some important reforms in the rule of law area” in Georgia.