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Backlash against ‘retroactive’ part of new law

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, January 4
The election code and related issues are still on the agenda after the US Embassy’s statement regarding the “pros and cons” of the new regulation and MPs claims of “some false explanations” of definite changes. Some concrete memorandums have been signed and an additional change is also taking place.

Controversy over the new party funding regulations imposed one more recall recently. In response to the spreading information about the “retroactive nature” of the new law and common statements of those parties allied with Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, majority MPs have made statements and refused the possibility and obligation to return money delivered by Ivanishvili to his ally parties before the prohibitions were set.

Several hours after the U.S. Embassy released its statement regarding the changes in the legislation, ruling party MPs made clear their explanations concerning the spread of information.

MP Akaki Minashvili, who chairs the foreign affairs committee, welcomed “the positive statement” by the U.S. Embassy, but also added: “I want to express certain regret over the part of the statement which refers to the party funding and a provision which is as if it has a retroactive effect.”

“This part of the (U.S. Embassy) statement is based on false information and I want to call on everyone to gather more information when making such statements and to check their sources. But I want to stress once again that we welcome this statement, which clearly notes that the (electoral) reform carried out in Georgia will contribute to a competitive electoral environment for 2012 (parliamentary elections),” MP Minashvili said.

It should also be mentioned that the idea of giving the new regulations a retroactive effect was first voiced by ruling party lawmaker Koba Khabazi on December 27 and after the Parliament passed the bill with its third and final reading on December 28, MP Khabazi welcomed that his proposal was included in the final version of the bill.

Changes are still ongoing. The Georgian Herald, which is the legal entity acting within the Ministry of Justice, will be enabled to carry out editorial changes in the normative act, “meaning the checking of orthographic and punctuation mistakes. The content of the normative act must not be changed”.

Lawyer Kakha Kakhishvili hopes that the change will not be misused, “as a different usage of a full stop or comma might impose serious changes to a document. “He also mentioned that it would be better if a group of philologists edit the document before it is introduced at the third hearing, however, they are in such a hurry to adopt the laws, it is less likely that they will be able to wait for conclusions from philologists.”

There are also some changes which are being carried out practically. The Georgian Chamber of Control, which based on the new regulation is to be the financial controller of the political parties, signed an agreement of cooperation with the National Bank of Georgia. “The memorandum foresees the delivering of information about financial transactions from National Bank of Georgia to the Chamber of Control,” said Head of the Chamber of Control Levan Bezhashvili. Chair of the National Bank Giorgi Kadagidze at his turn expressed readiness for such kind of collaboration and mentioned that the National Bank will act based on the law and support effective action of the Chamber of Control.