2012 Draft Budget Rejection Could be Grounds for Snap Election
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, October 21
An initial discussion of the 2012 state budget was held in parliament on October 20. According to the Minister of Finance Dimitri Gvindadze "the budget project 100% ensures fiscal stability and is oriented towards results". However, the parliamentary minority did not share the government's claims and says that "the project is not up to standard". At the same time a definite part of the opposition and analysts admit that the budget will be rejected and this will serve as a reason for the authorities and the president to appoint snap elections.
"The main emphasis of the 2012 state budget has shifted to health care, education and agricultural programs, and the development of other infrastructure as well," Gvindadze, said. The Chair of Parliament Financial -- Budgetary Commitee, Zurab Melikishvili, was more open in his speech and underlined some other priorities, including the increase of pensions, development of infrastructural projects, assistance for agriculture, the completion of certain institutions and so on. "The Georgian government works for more possibilities for Georgian citizens inside the country and for the construction of a modern country," Melikishvili said.
Although agricultural assistance has been named as one of the main priorities by the government, the Christian - Democrats state that agricultural assistance would see a reduction of GEL 10 million based on the 2012 state budget and the emphasis is mainly on the defense and interior ministries. "The projected budget does not respond to the challenges facing the state, according to all public polls carried out in the country, social problems are the most acute," the Christian Democrats stated. The opposition party is demanding the withdrawal of the projected budget, the carrying out of serious changes and the addressing of the country's needs.
Certain members of the opposition and analysts claim that the fact that the budget project "does not satisfy standards" has been concocted specially by the government, as a pretext to call snap elections. This is further made more likely by businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili's appearance in the Georgian political field and the government's fear regarding him.
An analyst and member of the opposition Republican Party, Vakhtang Khmaladze, says it would be difficult for the authorities to decide is it would be better to hold pre-term elections or not. "It needs serious analysis from the government's side, which would be based on which side would better manage to use the time profitably if snap elections are called."
As economic analyst Gia Khukhashvili told The Messenger, "such a scenario – the rejection of the projected budget and the holding of snap elections is less possible, as it would be a sign of a split in the government, rivalry between governmental legislative and executive bodies and the authorities will not let this, as they frequently emphasize the unity of the ruling team." The analyst added that currently it is difficult to know if the government will call pre term elections or not, because: "it is hard to say now which side prefers snap elections more the opposition or the government. Maybe it is more in the government's interests to lengthen the process."