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Opposition Pushes Law on Lustration
/ 1 Dec.'05 / 14:21
Nino Khutsidze, Civil Georgia

The opposition Democratic Front parliamentary faction presented on November 30 a draft law on lustration, which is aimed at excluding former Communist Party functionaries and officers of and collaborators with the ex-Soviet secret services from serving in state structures of Georgia.

The authors of the draft law say that the recent statements made by leader of the Justice Party Igor Giorgadze, ex-security chief of Georgia, who is wanted in conjunction with a failed terrorist attack against ex-President Shevardnadze, is good reason for starting consideration of this proposal. In an interview with the Russian daily Izvestia Igor Giorgadze said that he plans to change the current “rose regime” through consolidation of the Georgian population, adding that “2006 will be the last year Saakashvili and his team will hold office.”
  
According to the draft, those who worked in ex-Soviet special services, or held high positions in the Soviet Communist Party, or were serving as KGB agents will be banned from holding key positions in the government, President’s Administration, or the Defense and Interior Ministries. The list of also includes chairmen of the Soviet Georgian Television and Radio Broadcasting Committee.

Those wishing to run for elective office will have to publicize a full record of his/her past links with the Soviet authorities. Even if a candidate appears to have collaborated with the ex-Soviet secret services it is up to the voters to decide whether to elect them.
 
According to the draft, the identity of a person will remain confidential if he admits links to the ex-Soviet secret services within six months after the law is passed - but this person will have to step down from any official position he or she might be holding.

The draft envisages the setting-up of a state commission with the participation of representatives from the different parliamentary factions in order to implement the law on lustration. But even the authors of the draft law admit that it will be difficult to enforce this proposal, as documentation about those persons who were KGB agents, or collaborated with the secret services is not available in Georgia.

“Those to whom this law may apply are represented in the present authorities as well; hence, assumptions that it is now too late to adopt the law on lustration are groundless,” Chairman of the Democratic Front parliamentary faction Davit Zurabishvili said on November 30.
 
When a new government was formed under the leadership of late PM Zurab Zhvania last February, the authorities pledged to pass this law on lustration, but no document has been proposed so far by the government.
 
Parliamentarians from the ruling National Movement party seem to be cautious about this proposal. Influential MP Giga Bokeria said in an interview with Civil Georgia in mid-November that although he supports the adoption of this law, the issue is not currently on the agenda.
 
“This is a difficult political issue, but I hope that this topic will soon become a subject of political discussion in this Parliament,” Bokia said, adding that he doubts that the law will be discussed this year. 
 
This will be the third attempt to initiate the law on lustration since Georgia gained independence. Two previous attempts to consider the law on lustration in previously yielded no results. 

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