Georgian Dream (GD) parliamentary majority announced on December 3, that it would support Ucha Nanuashvili for the post of Public Defender.
Nanuashvili, 38, is a founder and executive director of a rights watchdog group Human Rights Center.
In early November Georgian Dream parliamentary majority announced that Nina Khatiskatsi was its favorite candidate, but shortly after a meeting between representatives from local non-governmental organizations and PM Bidzina Ivanishvili last month, GD lawmakers said their decision about Khatiskatsi was not final and they would continue discussions.
Parliament’s Vice Speaker from the Georgian Dream, Manana Kobakhidze said on December 3 that Nanuashvili “will be a very qualified public defender”.
“Protection of the rights and equality of each individual is the priority for me,” Nanuashvili told journalists after meeting with GD lawmakers in Kutaisi on December 3.
Nanuashvili’s nomination was backed by a group of 24 non-governmental organizations.
Also on December 3 Georgian Dream lawmakers met with Tamar Gurchiani, another would-be candidate for Public Defender’s post, also supported by a large group of non-governmental organizations.
MP Kobakhidze hailed all the potential candidates and said it was “very difficult” to make a final decision.
Other potential candidates included former MP Dimitri Lortkipanidze; lawyer Gela Nikolaishvili; Natia Imnadze, head of the National Preventive Mechanism at the Public Defender’s Office and Lia Mukhashavria of Human Rights Priority.
The President, a parliamentary faction or a group of six lawmakers not united in any faction, have the right to nominate a candidate for the Public Defender’s post.
Nanuashvili is so far the only candidate.
If there are several candidates, the Parliament should vote for each of them and the one who garners most of the votes, but not less than 76, will be confirmed as Public Defender for a five-year term.
The post of the Public Defender is vacant since September 20 after then ombudsman Giorgi Tugushi was appointed by President Saakashvili as minister for penitentiary system, following prison abuse scandal. Tugushi served on the post for five weeks before he was replaced by also a former public defender Sozar Subari after the new cabinet led by PM Bidzina Ivanishvili took office on October 25.