Political Debates – “Elections 2016 – Security Sector Reform”
On 16 September, at Hotel Courtyard Marriott, EWMI ACCESS organized a Policy Forum which was entirely dedicated to the first event of the recently founded Coalition for Euro-Atlantic Georgia: a debate among the key political parties competing in the October 8 Parliamentary Election about their election programs on defense and security sector reform. The aim of the event was to raise awareness in the political elite about security sector reform needs in Georgia, and discuss the specific visions of the political parties concerning the ways of approximation of Georgia’s defense and security sector with NATO standards; namely, strengthening democratic checks and balances within the law-enforcement bodies, further transformation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the State Security Service along democratic and transparent lines of governance, and enhancing modernization of the Georgian Armed Forces.
Before the debate the parties had received a matrix of questions and were asked to discuss their position on those issues in 5-7 minute presentations. After the presentations, in a Q&A session party leaders were asked specific questions by the moderator, the members of the Coalition and invited experts.
Participating parties were asked to provide their respective positions on the following questions:
– Whether NATO integration is a priority;
– Should the defense budget increase, decrease or remain the same?
– What accountability and oversight mechanisms, if any, they plan to introduce to the State Security Agency (SSA) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), if they’re elected?
– Do they support the institutional separation of the MIA and SSA?
– Do they support a creation of a separate parliamentary committee on intelligence and counter-intelligence?
– Which agency should be responsible for development, implementation and control over national security policy – the National Security Council (NSC) under the President or the State Security and Crisis Management Council (SSCMC) under the Prime Minister?
– Will they change and, if yes, how the Law of Georgia on Planning and Coordination of National Security Policy?
The following Political Parties took part in the debates:
- Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia
- United National Movement
- Free Democrats
- Paata Burchuladze – State for People
- Georgian Labour Party