Led by ALDE Party Vice President Henrik Bach Mortensen, a European liberal delegation held a wide range of meetings during a two-days visit to Tbilisi, Georgia primarily to support its member parties Free Democrats and Republicans ahead of the election campaign for local elections in October 2017.
Next to a number of work meetings and a press conference with its liberal member parties, the ALDE Party Vice President met a wide range of interlocutors including Georgia’s President Margvelashvili, other political parties, representatives of civil society to discuss a number of political developments of concern to the liberal community in Georgia. A meeting with the leader of its Azerbaijani member party Arif Hajili was also held.
Together with Republican leader Khatuna Samnidze and Free Democrats’ Secretary General Tamar Kekenadze, Henrik Bach Mortensen reiterated the liberal concern for the abduction of the Azeri journalist Afgan Mukhtarli who was kidnapped from Georgia during a press conference.
The liberal leaders also criticized the ruling party Georgian Dream’s decision to rush the process of constitutional amendments including a decision to no longer pursue the amendment of Georgia’s electoral code contrary to earlier promises and against the advice of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. This issue was also raised in the discussion with the Georgian President who stated also concerns about the constitutional amendment process as parliamentary super majorities need to be handled wisely to foster the overall democratic development and engage society as a whole. The President welcomed ALDE Party’s engagement with its Georgian partners and urged all European political parties to play an equal constructive role with their local counterparts to help develop a democratic culture.
“Freedom of expression, the independence of the media, an inclusive political process to foster a liberal-democratic culture and the belief in an open society and open markets are at the bottom of the work of our Georgian liberal partners and as ALDE Party we continue supporting them in their tireless efforts to continue building a strong economy and liberal society”, the ALDE Party Vice President summarized his visit.
A report by Georgia’s leading TV station can be seen here.