On July 1, the Parliament of Georgia adopted with 89 votes in favor and 0 against amendments to its Rules of Procedure. The amendments will enter into force upon the start of the new parliament elected in polls due in October.
According to the amendments, the number of Vice Speakers has been reduced from nine to five.
The amended Rules of Procedure abolishes a notion of the parliamentary minority. Factions will have no less than 15 minutes and no more than 75 minutes to engage in the parliamentary debates.
The amendments also envisage that no less than seven MPs (instead of previous six) will create a faction. The status of independent lawmakers will be changed to non-faction MPs.
Commenting on the adopted amendments, Transparency International Georgia, a local civil society outfit, noted that the sponsors of the bill took most of the organization’s remarks into consideration, but some “problematic” issues still remain.
In a statement released later on Wednesday, the organization hailed the fact that the Parliament followed its recommendations, according to which:
- MPs from different parties/election blocs will have the right to set up a joint faction.
- A party from an election bloc will be able to set up an independent faction after receiving seven mandates in the Parliament.
- Independent majoritarian MPs will retain the right to set up a faction.
The CSO however deemed it problematic that according to the New Rules of Procedure:
- Quotas in the Prosecutorial Council have been abolished and the Parliament will also have to put the opposition candidate to vote.
- Non-faction lawmakers will only have three minutes instead of current five to address the Parliament;
- Independent lawmakers will no longer have the right to nominate a candidate for the board of trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster.
Transparency International Georgia released an analysis of the proposed changes to the Rules of Procedure on June 5. The organization said back then that the proposed changes would diminish the rights opposition MPs enjoy under the current legislation.
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