Parliament elected four non-judge members of the High Council of Justice (HCoJ) in a second round of vote on June 14, but two seats in the Council, which oversees judicial system, were left vacant as lawmakers from the UNM parliamentary minority group refused to participate in vote.
UNM MPs staged walkout before the vote, accusing GD parliamentary majority group of unwieldiness to agree on selecting such candidates, which would have enjoyed bipartisan support.
Election of two out of six non-judge members by the Parliament requires two-third majority, meaning that support of UNM lawmakers is needed as GD falls short of 100 votes in the Parliament.
Four new HCoJ members were elected by GD lawmakers from those 12 candidates who garnered most of the votes in the first round; UNM refused to take part in the first round of vote as well, which was held on June 12.
Four new members, elected on June 14, are: Eva Gotsiridze, nominated by the Georgian Patriarchate’s University of St. Andrew the First-Called (92-0 vote); Kakhaber Sopromadze, a lawyer nominated by the Association for Free Development and Rights Protection (91-1 vote); Vakhtang Tordia, nominated by Social Programs Foundation (91-2 vote) and Gocha Mamulashvili, nominated by the Caucasus University (82-0 vote).
Other eight candidates, who were standing in the second round of vote but failed to garner enough votes, were: Nino Bakakuri, nominated by the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and Free University; Ekaterine Gasitashvili, nominated by the Georgian Bar Association; Levan Khetsuriani, nominated by the Georgian Technical University; Mamuka Songulashvili, nominated by the Georgian Technical University; Gia Meparishvili, who was prosecutor general in 2001 and who was nominated by the Caucasus International University; Madi Chantladze, nominated by the Center for Protection of Constitutional Rights; Roin Migriauli, nominated by the Georgian Lawyers for Independent Profession and Davit Sulakvelidze, nominated by the Free University.
Candidates, as envisaged by the law, were nominated by legal advocacy NGOs, Georgian Bar Association and law schools and faculties of the high education institutions.
The two seats in HCoJ will remain vacant as long as the Parliament fails to select a candidate enjoying support of at least 100 parliamentarians. According to the law, if after the vote two seats in HCoJ remain vacant, a new competition will be announced within 70 days.
The 15-seat HCoJ is now composed by 13 members, including four non-judge members elected by the Parliament on June 14 and seven judge members elected by the Conference of Judges on June 9.
Supreme Court Chairman, Kote Kublashvili, is an ex-officio member and chairman of HCoJ as defined by the constitution. One judge member of HCoJ was eligible to retain his seat as his membership was in compliance with criteria established by the new law based on which the previous HCoJ was reshuffled.