Amendments to the Local Self-Government Code of Georgia Undermine the Role of City Councils - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Amendments to the Local Self-Government Code of Georgia Undermine the Role of City Councils

04 November, 2022

Amendments to the Local Self-government Code, initiated by members of the parliamentary majority, significantly weaken the role of city councils, thereby impeding the development of local democracy, and are tailored to interests of the ruling party, Georgian Dream, alone.

The authors of the legislative initiative – Kakha Kakhishvili, Viktor Japaridze, Anton Obolashvili, and Irma Zavradashvili, require that where a city council fails to adopt local budget within three months since the beginning of a year, powers be prematurely terminated to the city council alone. The current formulation of the Code requires an early termination of powers to both a city council and a mayor in such event.

Adoption of a municipal budget, which is one of crucial documents on the level of local self-government, is a matter of agreement between a city council and a mayor. Consequently, both entities bear responsibility for the adoption of that document.

A new initiative releases a mayor of that responsibility and curbs the expression of dissenting opinions, especially in those city councils where the majority is not held by any single political party. As of today, such state of affairs is observed in three municipalities - those of Rustavi, Zugdidi and Chkhorotsky, where the mayors are representatives of the Georgian Dream whereas the majorities in the city councils are held by coalitions made up of opposition political parties.

It is assumed that the real aim of the initiated amendments to the Local Self-government Code is to enable the parliamentary majority of Georgian Dream to artificially resolve a potential disagreement in the aforementioned municipalities, that may arise in relation to forthcoming adoption of budget between the mayors from the Georgian Dream party and the opposition city councils, in favor of the incumbent mayors.

Transparency International – Georgia calls on the parliament of Georgia to vote against the proposed amendments that give mayors an advantage over city councils.