Receiving state funding for creating a faction is unjustified - საერთაშორისო გამჭვირვალობა - საქართველო

Receiving state funding for creating a faction is unjustified

16 November, 2017

A bill of amendments to the law of Georgia on Political Associations of Citizens1  has been initiated in the Parliament of Georgia. Authors/initiators of the bill are members of parliament Gia Zhorzholiani and Simon Nozadze. 

The amendments envisage granting of the status of a qualified electoral subject to a party if its candidates elected as MPs under majoritarian system create a parliamentary faction. According to the explanatory note, the legislation does not give preference to any of the electoral systems and therefore, it is unfair that budget funding can be obtained on the basis of a proportional electoral system only.  
We must first note that problems related to political party financing have long been a subject of discussions.2 Ambiguity of the existing formula for receiving state funding was clearly illustrated during the 2016 parliamentary elections when the party Industry Will Save Georgia received state funding amounting to GEL 300 000 for creating a faction while it failed to pass the electoral threshold of 3%, received only 0.78% of votes and was able to secure only a single majoritarian seat in parliament. 
Clearly, existing regulation of political party financing needs to be revised. However, the revision must be based on a systemic vision free from political considerations.  
As to receiving state funding for creating a faction in general, we believe that such proposal is wrong to the core. It is the purpose of state funding to support activities of parties that enjoy public support across the country. Therefore, allowing parties to receive any such benefit for the sole reason of creating a parliamentary faction, while operational costs of a faction are already covered by the parliamentary budget, is inexpedient, especially since authors/initiators of the bill may be motivated by a narrow party interest.
We hope that the Parliament of Georgia will consider the above circumstances and vote down the initiative. We also hope that it will create a platform for discussing ways to improve the existing party financing regulation.