International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), a local watchdog, said that a wave of recent resignations by elected municipal mayors raises questions about its true motives.
According to ISFED, a set of resignations from elective positions for unclear reasons fuels perception that self-governments are dictated by the central government and the ruling party.
“Reports about [intra]-party confrontation and apparent pressure [on the mayors] indicate that their resignations might be the result of instructions by the central government or the party rather than their own decision,” ISFED stated on April 10.
“Such cases clearly demonstrate the absence of real decentralization in the country,” the watchdog regretted, adding that the said processes “undermine the role of self-governments.”
ISFED noted that directly elected mayors hold themselves accountable to their party leaders and central governments rather than their constituents.
ISFED called on the resigned mayors to public clarify the reasons behind their decision. It also urged the ruling Georgian Dream party to eradicate an malpractice of possible pressure and persecution against elected officials from local self-governments.
Opposition politicians linked municipal mayors’ resignation to tensions with the ruling Georgian Dream party and apparent pressure. The ruling party strongly denied the allegations, saying that the municipal mayors resigned on their own will.