Parliament’s Legal Issues Committee disregarded the official comments of President Giorgi Margvelashvili regarding the proposed legislative package on secret surveillance. The legislative package, written by the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority group, proposes to create a Operative-Technical Agency of Georgia, which would be under the governance of the State Security Service. Its responsibilities will include hidden surveillance of phone communication, getting information from computer systems, control of post office transfers, secret audio and video surveillance, photographic surveillance, and more. President Margvelashvili vetoed the legislative package on March 20th.
Some of the Members of Parliament in the Legal Issues Committee referred to the President’s veto of the proposed package as “political speculation,” and encouraged other members of the committee not to pay attention to the President’s official comments.
“I want to address my colleagues not to pay too much attention to this veto, as it was used by our President, Giorgi Margvelashvili,” stated Georgian Dream MP Vano Zardiashvili during today’s session. “I encourage you to follow the procedures peacefully as the law requires, overcome this veto, and not give the President an opportunity for speculations.”
Movement for Liberty - European Georgia MP Otar Kakhidze countered against the Georgian Dream MPs that the legislative package would be like “throwing ashes in citizens’ eyes,” and that the “lever for eavesdropping is still in the hands of the State Security Service.” MP Kakhidze also noted that the decision of the Constitutional Court, that the proposed package on surveillance is unconstitutional, is still violated.
The President’s parliamentary secretary Ana Dolidze, commented after the committee session that it was not constructive: “Our main motive was to create a better system, to have written a better law, and to contribute to creating better organs. We were met by a very politically oriented and politically motivated discussion. Switching from a legal discussion to a political discussion will only harm the quality of the law.”