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New model for financing political parties

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, July 31
The parliamentary majority presented a new model for financing political parties. The issue was the topic of heated debates and caused serious dissatisfaction within the ranks of oppositional political parties. The Georgian Dream coalition members claim that the new model was elaborated through taking opposition “remarks” into account and speculation over the issue has been declared closed.

According to the model, additional money will be allocated from the state budget for financing the political parties before the elections.

According to the coalition representative, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, 14 political parties are financed from the state budget based on the current situation.

“Out of this 14, seven are the parliamentary parties; 6 are the parties of the coalition Georgian Dream and one is the United National Movement (UNM). The other seven are: New Rights, Georgian Way for Fair Georgia, Christian-Democrats, European Democrats and People’s party,” Kutsnashvili said, adding that there are also parties that did not overcome the threshold in the parliamentary and self-government elections in previous years. These are: National-Democratic party, Labor party, Free Georgia and Georgian Trope.

“They will receive a one-time pay-out of GEL 150,000 each,” Kutsnashvili explained.

Thus, GEL 2, 100, 000 will be allocated from the state budget for parliamentary parties, and GEL 1, 050, 000 for non-parliamentary parties.

Through the changes, each parliamentary party will receive GEL 300,000, and non-parliamentarians will receive GEL 150,000. The changes will be further discussed in the parliament.

Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili said the model was elaborated through consultations with various political groups and will come into force before the presidential elections.

Member of the parliamentary minority, Gigi Tsereteli, welcomed the decision made concerning the financing of the political entities.

According to him each political party, especially during the election period, should have equal opportunities.

“The financial independence of the political parties is essential. Fortunately, we have had achievements in this regards and steps backward would not have been acceptable,” Tsereteli said.

The Christian-Democrat Movement (CDM) thinks that the election environment is more important than party financing. “There were speculations as if the opposition parties needed only money… The most important is that the election environment is fair. When the whole election administration is composed by the members of the UNM and GD it is difficult to speak about free and fair election environment,” party member, Levan Vepkhvadze, stated.

Head of Free Georgia, Kakha Kukava, also approved of the changes. However, he said he will be sure only when he sees the written version of a new model.

The Labor Party has a different demand. They want the party to be granted the status of a qualified political party… According to them, “money will not make them close the eyes on injustice.”