GEO

Strengthening of Parliamentary Control in Georgia

13 February, 2018

The report "Strengthening of Parliamentary Control in Georgia" studies the exercise of parliamentary control since 2012 over the executive government. The analysis of the exercise of oversight function by the Parliament of Georgia shows that the latter doesn’t effectively use the existing control mechanisms. This is a result of a lack of strong traditions in the exercise of parliamentary oversight, lackluster political culture, as well as due to gaps in legislation and lack of effective response mechanisms.

The research, which assesses the oversight activities of the 8th and current convocation of the Parliament, has revealed the following:

Positive findings

According to the latest constitutional amendments:

  • The procedure for motion of censure was simplified;

  • A low quorum was established for the creation of investigative and other ad hoc commissions, which will bolster the role of the opposition;

  • The interpellation procedure was constitutionally established

  • The obligation of the Prime-Minister to present an annual report to the Parliament was established;

Challenges

  • The exercise of oversight functions by the opposition is weak, partly due to the fact that the opposition isn’t chairing any parliamentary committee;

  • The legislation doesn’t stipulate the holding of debates during interpellation and annual presentation of the report by the Government;

  • The new Constitution does not include the provision which stipulated a vote of confidence procedure in case of renewal of the first composition of the Government by one third, which should be assessed a step backward for parliamentary oversight;

  • No Government Hour was held during the 8th and 9th convocation of the Parliament - the Parliament hasn’t summoned any Member of the Government to the Plenary session.

  • The representatives of the executive government are violating the law by not showing up to the faction sitting at the summons by the opposition: out of 46 summons, only 5 showed up at the faction sitting;

  • The representatives of the executive government do not respond to posed MP questions in due time, while the MPs frequently use this right;

  • In most cases, the initiators for creating a temporary investigative commission are members of the opposition. However, as a rule, the majority declines the initiative. During the 8th and 9th convocation of the Parliament, there were 19 requests to set up a temporary investigative commission. However, the ruling majority supported only the creation of the temporary investigative commission which was proposed by them. In other 18 cases, the requests were turned down.

  • The Majority rarely exercises parliamentary control procedures defined by the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament under the pretext that they communicate with the executive government through other (informal) channels;

  • In most cases, the Parliament conducts formal hearings of reports made by accountable bodies. In this case the exception is the report by the Public Defender, after the hearing of which it is compulsory to adopt a Decree. Moreover, the practice of hearing the implementation report on the recommendations made by the Public Defender have been established.

Recommendations:

  • An effective legislative mechanism should be created for strengthening parliamentary control, with the active participation of the opposition;

  • The Rules of Procedure should define that at least one committee chairperson (Finance-Budgetary) should be reserved for a member of the opposition;

  • The Government Hour should become an effective mechanism and it should not be limited to answers to questions defined beforehand. Moreover, the individual responsibility of a Minister should be raised should the latter decline to attend the Government Hour;

  • Following the presentation of the report by the Prime-Minister, the faction chairpersons should be given the floor. Upon request, debates should be held;

  • The Parliament should conduct monitoring of the implementation of the recommendations by the State Audit Office;

  • Should define procedures for hearing the reports submitted to the Parliament in plenary and committee sessions, as well as procedures for issuing the Parliament recommendations and periodical control mechanism on their execution;

  • Parliamentary oversight should be increased over the security sector

 

 

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