Transparency International – Georgia released a statement that criticized the legislative changes initiated by Parliament to the Local Self-Government Code, according to which, if the Local Council (Sakrebulo) fails to approve the local budget within 3 months from the beginning of the budget year, its powers will be terminated.
TI – Georgia noted that according to existing legislation, in such cases both the Sakrebulo’s and the Mayor’s mandates are terminated, and emphasized that in that context, the initiated change “significantly weaken the role of the Sakrebulo, prevents the development of local democracy and is tailored only to the interests of the Georgian Dream.”
“The approval of the municipal budget, which is one of the most important documents at the local self-government level, is the subject of a common agreement between the Sakrebulo and the Mayor. Accordingly, both sides are responsible for its approval,” the organization remarked.
In that context, TI – Georgia noted that the new initiative evades the responsibility of the Mayor and prevents the Sakrebulo’s ability to express a different position on the budget, especially in those local councils (Rustavi, Zugdidi, Chkhorotsku), where no party has a solid majority.
Accordingly, the organization asserted that the purpose of the legislative changes may be that “the parliamentary majority of the Georgian Dream will artificially, in favor of current mayors, resolve the possible disagreement that may arise between the mayors representing Georgian Dream and opposition councils in the process of approving upcoming budgets in these municipalities.”
Thus, TI – Georgia called on Parliament to not support the proposed changes, which put the Mayor in an advantageous position over the Sakrebulo.