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Georgia: Arrest of opposition leader aggravates political crisis

Transparency International is deeply concerned by developments in Georgia. The decision to raid the offices of the United National Movement opposition party and arrest its leader, Nika Melia, will only further aggravate the current political crisis in the country.

Long seen as a positive example amongst post-Soviet states, recent events in Georgia further demonstrate an extremely high degree of concentration of power and a worrying slide towards state capture. The erosion of the rule of law and the independence of institutions, coupled with ongoing attacks against outspoken civil society groups, is resulting in serious democratic backsliding.

Particularly worrying is that the lack of judicial independence, along with the continued influence of the ruling party over law enforcement agencies, is being weaponised to target political opponents.

In a country once known for its impactful anti-corruption reforms, it is regrettable that impunity seems increasingly the norm for high-level corruption. We urge the Georgian authorities to respect the rule of law, to engage in political dialogue in order to safeguard the country’s democratic future, and to create an environment where meaningful anti-corruption policies can be implemented.

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