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Ruling party proposes new law on funding political parties

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, December 30
The ruling party has initiated a new law on funding political parties. Speaking at a special press conference early on Monday Georgian Parliament Speaker David Bakradze said the all the parties which overcame the election threshold at the last Parliamentary elections in May, but declined to enter Parliament, will receive funding if the law is passed. Bakradze also said that according to the proposed law parties already funded from the state budget will receive increased funding. Bakradze noted that the only party which will receive less funding will be the ruling National Movement. He said that the ruling party will see its funding cut by 35%. “This money will be used for the development of the civil sector and NGOs,” Bakradze told journalists. “With the adoption of this law the country will be able to reach a new standard in the development and strengthening of the political spectrum,” the Parliament Speaker said, adding that the various political parties would agree the proposals at an Anti Crisis Council session.

The non-Parliamentary opposition says that the discussion of the proposal at the Anti Crisis Council is just a “game.” The leader of Industry will Save Georgia, Zurab Tkemaladze, said he had left the Council session as a sign of protest as “this is already the fifth session” to discuss the amendments and “every time new options are being discussed,” Tkemaladze said.

Meanwhile the Government has unveiled draft amendments to the Georgian Constitution which, according to state officials, decrease the power of the President. Under the draft amendments the President would be able to dissolve Parliament only once during his Presidential term, and the Parliamentary minority would be able to start procedures to dismiss the Cabinet.

The draft amendments say that the President would have to call a nationwide referendum to dissolve Parliament for a second time during his term of office, and if voters refuse to endorse the President’s initiative to dissolve Parliament snap Presidential elections will be held, the draft reads.

Before being voted on in Parliament, the draft amendments will be the subject of public discussion for a month, as demanded by the Georgian Constitution.