The Georgian Dream ruling party announced it will send the controversial de-oligarchisation draft bill to the Venice Commission in Europe, executive secretary of the party Mamuka Mdinaradze announced on November 28.
According to Mdinaradze, the bill will not be discussed in its third reading and Georgia’s parliament will wait for the conclusion of the Venice Commission.
“We really do not consider it necessary to send [the draft bill]. However, since we respect the call of our friends, since, as we have already said many times, we do not see any problems… there is no room for speculation… we made a decision to send the draft bill to the Venice Commission for a legal opinion,” said Mdinaradze.
Earlier, representatives from the EU and the US ambassador to Georgia had urged Georgian Dream to send the de-oligarchisation bill to the Venice Commission.
The EU delegation to Georgia reacted positively to the news announced by Mdinaradze.
“We welcome the announcement that the Parliament of Georgia will take the positive step of sending the de-oligarchisation draft law to the Venice Commission for opinion. [It is] important to consult standard setters and implement their recommendations,” read an official statement by the delegation.
In October, Georgian parliamentarians began work on the de-oligarchisation bill to fulfill EU requirements for receiving membership candidacy status. Lawmakers say that the bill uses Ukrainian legislation as its model, with the difference that in Georgia the parliament will be responsible for compiling a list of potential oligarchs. In Ukraine, the presidential administration compiles a list.
Georgian Dream has drawn sharp criticism
for insisting that the new bill will not apply to the country's most famous oligarch, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who founded the party and previously served as prime minister.
The opposition in Georgia believes that the de-oligarchisation law will be used to punish opposition financiers and to protect the interests of Ivanishvili. Although MPs from Georgian Dream claim that they are simply implementing EU recommendations, the opposition views the bill as an instrument for potential political repression.