Municipal Budgets Rushed to Avoid Opposition’s Obstruction, GD Says

MP Sozar Subari, a member of the ruling Georgian Dream party political council, justified the outgoing members of six contested local councils rushing the approval of municipal budgets on November 26 as a move to avoid possible obstruction of the opposition.

He stressed the governing party’s decision was lawful, and aimed at not allowing “the radical forces in the opposition that are perpetually striving for creating a disturbance to vote down the municipal budget.” This would have hindered the work of local agencies, as well as stalled regional infrastructure projects and development, according to MP Subari.

Outgoing Georgian Dream Sakrebulo members pushed through the budgets in Batumi, Rustavi, Martvili, Senaki, Chkhorotsku and Zugdidi municipalities, where the GD secured mayoral seats in the 2021 local polls but failed to clinch majorities in the councils.

MP Subari said the actions of opposition politicians on November 26, in the vocal protests during the Sakrebulo sessions, “confirmed that they planned to create problems where they could, so that the budget would not be approved.”

Dubbing the opposition’s attempts to disrupt the Sakrebulo sessions in Batumi and Zugdidi “a circus,” the Georgian Dream lawmaker argued that the methods used by the opposition politicians, including spraying a smelly liquid during the Batumi hearing, “show the true faces of these people.”

“Where there is the public interest, a choice between development and stagnation, we will always stand on the side of the population and use any legal possibilities so that these forces cannot achieve their goals at the expense of the people’s well-being,” he asserted.

The new compositions of local councils across Georgia are set to take over on December 3. The timeframes set out by Georgian legislation would have allowed both, either the outgoing members or the new councilors to approve the budgets.

The opposition and civil society had argued the Georgian Dream was afraid of snap local elections in the contested municipalities, which would be called if the Sakrebulos failed twice to endorse the budget.

As per the Self-Government Code, if the budget, tabled by the Mayor, is not approved by Sakrebulo through December, the mayoral office is allowed to spend one-twelfth of the previous year’s budget in each month of the first quarter of the new year.

But if the Mayor cannot get the budget approved by the time of the second quarter, a snap vote is called, both for the mayoral and the Sakrebulo seats.

United National Movement, Lelo, European Georgia, Girchi – More freedom and Droa opposition parties are rejecting the 2021 local polls as “void,” claiming the results were falsified.

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