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Non-parliamentary parties criticize draft on party financing

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, October 10
19, 080, 000 GEL is envisaged for financing political parties and the non-government sector through the 2014 state budget draft. According to the authors of the draft, the money will encourage a “healthy relationship” between the political parties and will assist the NGOs to perform in the country.

Only those political entities that received 3% or more in the last parliamentary or self-governments’ elections will receive state funding.

The draft reads that funding will enable the political parties to conduct surveys, studies, conferences and other projects through the state budget. Grant competitions will be held on election issues for the non-government organizations.

Head of the non-parliament Georgian Troupe opposition party, Jondi Baghaturia, claims there is no agreement between the political parties concerning the balanced financial assistance for the various political players in the country.

“If the budgetary funding is increased just for the leading political parties (for the coalition Georgian Dream (GD) and the United National Movement), the situation will remain unimproved in the country,” Baghaturia states.

Chair of the non-parliamentary opposition Free Georgia, Kakha Kukava, is sure that the additional funding will be allocated for the GD and the UNM.

“I can assure you with the name of my party that even one tetri will not be given to us. It will be better if such issues are discussed in target groups before making final decision,” Kukava said.

“It is one more unscrupulous intention of the coalition Georgian Dream,” said representative of the non-parliament Labour Party, as he assessed the planned increase in political parties’ financing. He stressed that growth in funding of the leading political parties is unacceptable.

Representative of Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA), Lela Taliuri, told The Messenger, that the demands of the non-parliamentary opposition might be taken into account after changing the election code if the election barriers are decreased.

“Currently, the barrier is 3%, when the parties’ financing issue was being discussed the non-parliamentary opposition parties were demanding 2% and less. However, their demand was not accepted. There were some other demands and appeals from the non-parliamentary opposition, which were taken into account,” Taliuri said, adding that the experts of the European Council, who were attending the discussions, were stating that a decrease of the barrier could be acceptable in the transitional period.

Head of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), Nino Lomjaria, states that the funding of the NGOs from the state budget is widely used in West Europe.

“The initiative is positive. The most important is which companies carry out the financing process, how transparently and fairly they will act,” Lomjaria said.

Executive director of Transparency International Georgia, Eka Gigauri, thinks that some NGOs might refuse getting state financing.

“Assisting of the non-government sector is important. We are interested in what kinds of competitions will be held, how the financial responsibility will be regulated,” Gigauri stated.