The Parliament of Georgia adopted on January 28 controversial amendments to its Rules of Procedure, which now grants opposition MPs without factions the right to nominate Vice-Speaker and Committee Deputy Chair candidates.
The changes enable non-faction MPs to elect one Parliament Vice-Speaker, as well as a Deputy Chair for each of the 15 Committees. The changes also increased the debate time for such MPs, who will now be entitled to 15 minutes.
The adopted amendments will be in place only for the duration of the tenth convocation of the Georgian Parliament, which is left without major opposition parties that are boycotting the legislature over “fraud” October 31, 2020 parliamentary elections.
Senior Georgian Dream lawmaker Mamuka Mdinaradze said earlier the amendments were aimed at empowering opposition representatives, only four of which have entered the legislature so far.
The four former Alliance of Patriots MPs, who took up their mandates and went on to establish a new, European Socialists party, were barred from higher legislative positions, as at least seven MPs were required to establish a parliamentary faction.
Thus the Vice-Speaker and Deputy Committee Chair posts reserved for the opposition had remained vacant since the Georgian Parliament opened amid opposition boycott on December 12.
The ruling party’s initiative on easing the requirements for the positions was met with criticism, as some boycotting opposition politicians and CSO representatives argued the GD was trying to “buy off” opposition MPs.