Three local civil society organizations – the Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), the Transparency International Georgia and the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) - voiced their objections over the amendments to the party funding rules initiated by two parliamentary majority lawmakers - Gia Zhorzholiani and Simon Nozadze.
According to the bill, budgetary funding will be allocated not only to those parties that garner 3% electoral support in the proportional elections (as it is under the current legislation), but also to those that fail to receive enough votes, but win majoritarian seats and form a faction in the legislature.
In their joint statement released on November 16, the three CSOs noted that “it is unjustified to grant state funding for forming a faction,” and that the legislative initiative of the parliamentary majority representatives “is wrong in its essence.”
“The goal of the state funding is to promote the activities of political parties enjoying public support throughout the country. Therefore, it is not reasonable to grant such benefits only for forming a parliamentary faction, the operating expenses of which are already financed from the Parliament’s budget,” the statement reads.
The CSOs also slammed the current rule of party funding and pointed at the need of amendments. “The obscure nature of the current formula of state funding calculatation was clearly demonstrated during the 2016 parliamentary elections, when the Industrialists party, which obtained only 0.78% of votes and won only one majoritarian seat in the Parliament, received GEL 300 000 from the state budget for forming a faction.”
The three organizations expressed hope that the Parliament would take into account their views, would not support the proposed legislative initiative and instead “create a space for discussion to improve the current rule of party funding.”
The Parliament has yet to discuss the proposed bill. The document has to be first approved by the Parliament’s committees for legal issues and finance and budget before being referred to the plenary session.