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Transparency International: Parliament Fails to Effectively Supervise Gov’t

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, February 14
Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Transparency International (TI) Georgia has presented its report -Strengthening of Parliamentary Control in Georgia, which studied the exercise of parliamentary control since 2012 over the executive government.

The NGO says that the analysis of the oversight function of 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 report reads.

Parliamentary oversight over the activities of the Government takes the following forms:
- Preventive measures and response mechanisms against abuse of power, illegal and unconstitutional actions by the Government and state bodies;
- Ensuring accountability of the Government, such as control over the use of taxpayer money. This, in turn, results in economic development and cost saving.
- Oversight over the policy declared by the Government, such as the monitoring of ful?llment of state programs, as well as monitoring of aims and achievements. Such control results in the increase of trust towards the Government and ensures that e?ective policies are in place.

The NGO says the exercise of oversight functions by the opposition is weak, partly due to the fact that the opposition is not chairing any parliamentary committee.

Furthermore, the organization says the representatives of the executive government are violating the law by not showing up at the faction sittings at the summons by the opposition, adding out of 46 summons only officials showed up only in 5 cases at the faction sitting.

The report also says in most cases, the initiators for creating a temporary investigative commission are members of the opposition, adding as a rule, the majority declines the initiative.

“During the 8th and 9th convocations 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 proposed by them. In other 18 cases, the requests were turned down,” TI stressed.

Moreover, according to the report, the majority Georgian Dream (GD) 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.

The NGO also issued some recommendations, saying 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 NGO said.

Also, TI believes the Parliament should conduct monitoring of the implementation of the recommendations by the State Audit Office and also parliamentary oversight should be increased over the security sector as well.

The opposition United National Movement (UNM) says it is necessary that the parliamentary majority takes TI’s remarks into account.

“Parliamentary supervision is a fiction. Without an effective parliamentary oversight, young democracies have no chance,” Nika Rurua, the UNM member stated.

Former Parliament Speaker and now Chair of the Construction Movement, Davit Usupashvili says the Georgian parliament failed to form as a united institution.

“This happened because of the rival relationship between the ruling party and the opposition,” he stressed.

Eka Beselia, Chair of the Parliament’s Legal Committee says the majority made serious steps improving Parliamentary oversight. According to her, further strengthening of parliament’s supervisory function is the priority for the Georgian Dream majority.