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Main aim of municipal government reform is citizens’ involvement

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, November 1
Irakli Melashvili, head of the Regional Government Office, stated reform of municipal governments is long-term but the first phase is scheduled for completion before the 2014 elections.

“We want a country where the government is not only ruling the country, but where the community is controlling the government and is actively involved in the management process. Municipal government reform is needed to ensure the creation of citizen involvement in the management of the state.” Melashvili stated.

According to Melashvili, the central government currently controls all administrative decisions in Georgia, down to the village level. He explained that the current government is planning on serious reforms to correct this and give local governments more authority.

Self-governing status will be granted to those municipalities whose population is more than 15,000. In addition, self- governments will have their own financial income and no one will be able to intervene in their affairs.

According to Melashvili, until now governors were responsible for overseeing local governments but under the new law only the judiciary will be able to reverse municipal government decisions.

One of the main aims of municipal government reform is to make resources more accessible to communities. Melashvili says the first phase of the reforms will cost between $40-50 million.