Monitoring the Interaction between the State and the Orthodox Church in Georgia

Monitoring the Interaction between the State and the Orthodox Church in Georgia

Starting from October, EWMI ACCESS supports the “Democracy Research Institute” (DRI) in carrying out a project which aims to facilitate free and fair pre-election environment in Georgia. Specifically, the project focuses on monitoring the engagement of religious organizations and clergy in the pre-election campaign and tries to spark public discussions on this issue.

Despite the fact that the Election Code of Georgia prohibits religious organizations from conducting and participating in pre-election agitation, and the concordate signed between the Georgian government and the Georgian Orthodox Church highlights that the state and the church are and must remain independent from each other, these legal norms are rarely enforced. The first interim monitoring report released by DRI in the end of October revealed a number of possible cases when the clergymen of the Georgian Orthodox church engaged actively in the election campaign in the run up to the 2020 parliamentary elections (held on October 31, 2020). However, according to the second monitoring report (covering the period of November 1-30) the clergymen were less engaged in the campaigning during the second round of the parliamentary elections.

In order to start a constructive public debate on the issue and increase general public awareness, DRI prepared and disseminated video interviews with theologians, constitutionalists and other experts speaking about interaction between the state and the church, reasons and consequences of church interference into the Georgian politics, additional amendments needed to regulate  interdependence between these parties, etc.

In December, DRI will release a comprehensive review of various models concerning the relationship between the State and the Church and analysis of the Georgian legislation in this regard.

Categories: Breaking News

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