The chairman of the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association sent an appeal to the members of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Issues urging the MPs to reconsider the amendments to be introduced to the law on political parties and the Election Code. The legislative initiative envisages the reduction or suspension of state funding for boycotting parties, as well as depriving them of free airtime.
As it is known to the public, in March of this year, the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR prepared a joint opinion on the aforementioned bill, which they largely criticized. The organizations believe that the abolition of state funding for political parties threatens their ability to continue their activities and, in general, party pluralism. GYLA submitted a report to the Parliament concerning the initiative, in which the organization criticized the provisions proposed by the draft law taking into account international standards and the experience of other countries. Given the differences of opinion around the issue, the disputed draft laws were included in the "Charles Michel Document" signed by the parties, according to which the bills should be revised in accordance with the above-mentioned opinion.
Nevertheless, the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Issues did not amend the bill in the second reading and retained all the components that received a negative assessment in the opinion. GYLA believes that this is not in line with the commitment undertaken as per the agreement. The new version continues to contradict the international standards referred to by the Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR. The organization calls on the MPs not to allow the emergence in the law of any provisions that may hamper political pluralism.
See the full text of the GYLA Chairman's appeal in the annex.