The government must refrain from announcing large-scale social programs during the period leading up to the second round of elections
Following the first round of presidential elections, the government of Georgia has ramped up its promises, with Georgian Dream leaders announcing new multi-million social programs almost every day during the past week. Considering the essence, intensity and target audience of this trend, it can clearly be characterized as electorally motivated public spending that borders on use of financial administrative resources for election purposes.
The state must elaborate a social policy that establishes a stable social security system without simply relying on raising social benefits during pre-election periods. In order to ensure a healthy and competitive election environment, such programs should not be initiated in the period leading up to elections, since this gives a major unfair advantage to the ruling party candidate. Transparency International Georgia has urged the government to refrain from making such promises during each of the previous elections, and continues to do so now.
The following social programs were announced after the first round of presidential elections:
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze
On November 2, the Prime Minister announced that 140,000 socially vulnerable children would receive social assistance of GEL 50, up from GEL 10, which would increase budget expenditures by GEL 70 million.
Minister of Healthcare Davit Sergeenko
On the same day, Minister of Healthcare promised that upon becoming employed, socially vulnerable citizens would maintain their social assistance for a period of one year and non-monetary benefits for a period of two years. According to him, the government will adopt the necessary decree in the near future.
Sergeenko also stated that the Ministry would purchase 400 apartments for IDP families in Rustavi, Marneuli, Khashuri, Batumi, Kutaisi and Tbilisi, the latter being a priority.
MP Kakhaber Okriashvili
On November 4, the majoritarian MP representing Dmanisi and Tsalka Kakhaber Okriashvili stated that he had initiated amendments to the Law on Development of Mountainous Regions, allowing the government to grant the ‘mountainous’ status, and therefore benefits, to settlements even if they did not meet the predefined criteria.
Rustavi and Telavi Municipalities
On November 5, during his meeting with citizens, Rustavi Mayor Irakli Tabaghua stated that 350 families would have their factual ownership of apartments legitimized, which they have been asking for without success for several years.
A similar process is taking place in Telavi, where legal ownership of the so-called ‘Legion Apartments’, currently held by the Ministry of Economy, will be transferred to people residing in them in the near future. This has been confirmed by Telavi Mayor Shota Nareklishvili and Telavi majoritarian MP Irakli Sesiashvili.