The Presidential Decree on Extension of the State of Emergency approved by the Parliament with 97 votes against 10

22 Aril 2020
The Presidential Decree on Extension of the State of Emergency approved by the Parliament with 97 votes against 10

The state of emergency has been extended to May 22 inclusively.

The Presidential Decree of April 21, 2020 N2 has been approved with 97 votes against 10.

The President of Georgia, Mme. Salome Zourabichvili dwelt on the necessity of extension of the state of emergency and overviewed the 1-month period of this state and the joint efforts by the Government and the society. “As a result of the efforts in all directions we manage to maintain the lower index of the cases and deserve the high international estimation, which is also evidenced with my conversation with the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. He gave the highest estimation to the steps made by the Government of Georgia in this period and underlined our successful measures resulting in the successful first stage. We all shall be proud of it, though now when we enter the highest curve period, we shall not feel self-content for these estimations. We shall not relax but be extremely careful and attentive as the internal spread of the virus will aggravate the situation. Based on the Reference of the Prime Minister and pursuant to Article 71 of the Constitution, I have issued the Decree on declaration of the state of emergency countrywide. According to the Decree, the state of emergency is extended to May 22, 2020, inclusively. The Decree does not envisage additional restrictions. Thus, we allow the progress of the country and successful fight against the virus. We have already made very successful steps and managed to maintain the state of emergency within a certain scope that the restrictions do not apply the freedom of speech and media. Let’s look at other countries. The restrictions have a minimal application on human rights, movement and right of manifestation. We do our best to prevent the negative effect of the state of emergency on the timely adoption of the Constitutional Changes and the election calendar, as well as our democratic way. I do hope that we will show the world that the small country can serve as a model for addressing the healthcare crisis, economic crisis and show the new potential. It will be our victory”, - she noted.

The Chief of the Governmental Administration, Natia Mezvrishvili dwelt on the restrictions aiming at mitigation of the virus and protection of human lives and health.

We addressed the President for declaration of the state of emergency after we have expired other less restrictive measures against the virus. Thus, the questions about consistency of our steps shall not be raised. We undertook the additional measures after we have expired all possible resources to control the situation”.

She thanked the President, the Parliament and also the medical personnel, police officers and the citizens demonstrating high social responsibility to adhere to the recommendations.

After the speeches, the floor was given to the MPs. Dimitri Khundadze, the Chair of the Health Care and Social Issues Committee: “The Prime Minister, before identification of the first infection in the country and before declaration of the pandemic, has set up the Coordination Council, which is particularly effective. You have heard about it by the high political officials, the partner countries and the experts. The specialists of various fields, I mean our international friends, often contact our experts and the Coordination Council members to be consulted, inasmuch as the Georgian strategy, regardless of the criticism by the opposition, is exceptionally productive”.

Sofo Kiladze, Chair of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee: “We all agree that the pandemic is relatively slow in Georgia compared to other countries. It is a result of the effective activity of the medical personnel to ensure low fatalities. The social package by the Government shall be oriented to the most vulnerable groups, including the businesses now encountering the problems”.

Zaza Gabunia, Chair of the Regional Policy and Self-Government Committee: “The state of emergency is the regime envisaging the set of the inter-related issues – social, healthcare, mental, economic, security etc. and today we are proud to declare that Georgia and Georgian Government and citizens demonstrate a good example of the unified society. The Government, in view to address the virus, strives to protect the population and these efforts are evident as in the healthcare strategy, so in economic policy etc”.

Genadi Margvelashvili, Chair of the Education, Science and Culture Committee: “The small group of the citizens initiates declaration of the current semester as academic. Let me underline that the measures undertaken by the Government concerning the distance education ensured continuation of the education process and allows the educational institutions to achieve the outlined goals, which makes declaration of the semester as academic inexpedient”.

The Speaker, Archil Talakvadze made the comment about the distance education and PB project “Tele-School”: “The pedagogues served as a particular model for the society when holding the remote lessons against the pandemic. Now, there are many students and pupils participating in this process on a daily basis. The project is uninterrupted and I would like to thank all the pedagogues and also the Public Broadcaster for this successful project ensuring engagement of the students and pupils in educational process. I would like to especially underline the initiative and the PB program for ethnic minorities”.

The floor was given to the Factions. Zurab Tchiaberashvili, European Georgia-Regions: “I expected from Dimitri Khundadze to tell us about the situation in the hospitals. Against the low numbers, when we have 400 infected, 7 hospitals are in quarantine and 16 medical employees are infected, it means that I mean not those 7 hospitals designated for COVID-19 but the people with these symptoms can freely move. What are the measures undertaken we need to know from the Chair of the Healthcare Committee”.

Irma Inashvili, Alliance of Patriots and Social-Democrats: “I would like to think that these 3000-GEL penalties shall be annulled as for those people in the villages and regions, never knowing about the penalties and state of emergency, for those people not timely informed about it, do not have 3000 GEL for the penalties. The blocking policy is not proper. We call on to annul the state of emergency and the curfew but to maintain the quarantine to fight the pandemic”.

Mariam Jashi, Independent MPs: “The principal position of our Faction is that the Prime Minister and the Government should appear in the Parliament and introduce not only the statement for extension of the state of emergency but the detailed plan to manage the crisis and post-crisis situation. Despite this, I am obliged to support the decision less damaging for our society since social distancing is the most effective measure. I am forced to support the state of emergency. The positions in our Faction are different. Three of our members – Koba Narchemashvili, Levan Gogichaishvili and I support the state of emergency, while Levan Koberidze and Gedevan Popkhadze abstain and reject this decision”.

Rati Ionatamishvili, Georgian Dream: “Our opponents try to manifest the measures by Georgian Dream against COVID-19 in a negative light. On the other hand, we see that our international partners keep mentioning the success of the Georgian Government against the virus, though the figures are the best evidence of our efficiency and high responsibility assumed by Georgian Dream”.

George Bokeria, European Georgia: “What has been put to voting, what was the information introduced by the President and the Governmental Administration – the same that they will reiterate in two days? If you know a secret, please inform us too”.

Giorgi Gachechiladze, Georgian Dream-Greens: “Do you want the people to come out to the streets? All these attempts to trigger panic will not be beneficial for you. But, this coronavirus has one positive aspect – it lustrated the political spectrum in the country and we will see your changes in autumn”.

George Tsereteli, European Georgia-Movement for Freedom: “Why it is vague when we speak that thousands of our citizens encounter the grave problems due to the state of emergency. We all know about it and the people, told to stay home, left without money, left isolated, unable to visit the parents and relatives, cannot make the elementary decisions due to the absence of the services. These people do expect us to help them with the food etc. Our duty is to discuss it here but we are criticized because of it as if we “have not right as it is no time for criticism today”.

It is not a criticism, it is our will and offer for you, the Majority and the Government and it is natural”. Elene Khoshtaria, European Georgia: “I can’t stop noting the timely and effective measures by the Government, especially at the first stage of the crisis. However, let me note that the crisis goes on and we are in the very middle of it”. Giorgi Kandelaki, European Georgia: “according to the regulations now in force, you can online buy wine or other spirits but you cannot buy the clothes for the children. Is it populism to ask this question”.

Irma Nadirashvili, European Georgia-Movement for Freedom: “Upon declaration of the restrictions up-today, European Georgia has provided more than 600 families with aid without widely demonstrating it by media and if not the accusations by Sophio and the call from this podium about the salaries, we would never declare about it. Please, reproach the people with your salaries”.

After the speeches, the President and the Chief of the Governmental Administration delivered the resuming remarks and made the statements.

After approval of the Presidential Decree, the MPs resumed with the agenda issues.

The Deputy Finance Minister, Giorgi Kakauridze introduced the financial agreements for ratification and informed MPs about the allocated amounts and consumption purpose.

The Chair of the Legal Committee, Anri Okhanashvili introduced the legal changes concerning the quarantine and isolation rules – the administrative reprimand for violation – 2000 GEL for the natural persons and 10 000 GEL for the legal entities. The reprimands shall be applied only in absence of the state of emergency or martial law.

The new Article is introduced to the Code of Administrative Offenses envisaging responsibility for violation of the state of emergency or martial law. The Reprimands shall be determined according to the Presidential Decree.

The reporter introduced the changes to the Criminal Code concerning violation of the quarantine and isolation rules and repeated offenses.

MP Koba Lursmanashvili introduced the bill on Local Self-Government Code for accelerated consideration.

At the end of the session, MPs got cognizant with the bills on Energy Efficiency of the Buildings; and on Energy Efficiency with the II reading.

The 22 April plenary session ended with the ballot.