The messenger logo

Cutting Mayor's powers to increase self-governance

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, November 6
“The Mayor should fulfill his duties and there must be the right cooperation between the assembly and the mayor’s office,” Chairperson of the Tbilisi City Assembly, Irakli Shikhiashvili, said, stressing that the mayor’s office is ignoring the assembly, thus the issue of cutting down the mayor’s role should be put on the agenda.

One of the leaders of the United National Movement (UNM), Temur Grigalashvili, called this idea nonsense. Grigalashvili said the opinion of the chairperson of the Tbilisi City Assembly does not correspond to European standards. He said Shikhiashvili’s idea is nothing but the usurpation of self-governances and an attempt “to stick his own powers.”

However, Deputy Chairman of the Assembly, Jaba Samushia, called on parliament to act faster, because only in that case it will become possible to take down “Gigi Ugulava’s feudal system.”

Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili suggested to the Georgian Dream lawmakers, Irakli Tripolski and Gia Zhorzholiani, that the authors of the bill envisaging cutting the Tbilisi Mayor’s powers at the expense of increasing Tbilisi City Council’s authority, to either withdraw this bill or to put it in line with planned new legislative amendments envisaging the major overhaul of the local self-governance system.

The government has approved a package of wide-ranging legislative amendments on reforming local self-governance, which is expected to be initiated in the parliament. Usupashvili said at a session of the parliamentary bureau on November 1 that the bill proposed by the two Georgian Dream lawmakers contains obvious inaccuracies.

The Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, David Narmania, met with the experts on November 5 to discuss the possible risks from realization of the self-government project. “These changes had to be done a long time ago,” he said worrying that nothing has been done in previous years except from “cosmetic,” facade activities. According to him, in any region, where the population is more than 15,000, mayors will be elected and not appointed.

After becoming familiar with the bill, expert Khatuna Lagazidze, said that this is one more good step. However, she said there of course will be some political (and not only political) risks in the ethnically rich regions, and those risks should be minimized.