Parliament approved on Wednesday a decision to annul martial law in Georgia from September 4 – four days earlier than initially planned.
Martial law will be replaced with a state of emergency, but only in areas under Russian occupation – specifically, according to the decree, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, as well the areas in Georgia proper, where Russian forces maintain outposts.
The state of emergency is in fact a nominal move, with no restrictions envisaged in the decree passed by Parliament on Wednesday.
“This decree entails a state of emergency, but no restrictions,” MP Pavle Kublashvili, the chairman of the parliamentary committee for legal affairs, said. “Restrictions can be imposed through a separate presidential decree if needed.”
Lawmakers from the ruling party said that martial law was a distraction for economic activities in the country.
“One of the reasons for lifting martial law is to demonstrate that there are areas in Georgia which remain under occupation, but that in the rest of Georgia work is continuing and work should continue as usual, including trade, cargo movement and economic activities,” Davit Bakradze, the parliamentary chairman, said in Parliament on September 3. “But this [lifting of martial law] does in no way mean that we are ceasing or weakening our fight against occupation.”
Initially, martial law was imposed for two weeks on August 9, but it was subsequently prolonged for another two weeks until September 8.