Protest for budgetary financing of political parties’
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, November 24
The number of political parties that will receive state funding after last month’s Parliamentary Elections will increase from 11 to 20, which will cost about 9.8 million GEL for the state budget annually.
This has already caused protests amongst parties that were ineligible to receive budgetary financing, saying some blocs and factions are “artificially created” before and after elections to gain budgetary funds.
Some members of the ruling party also say certain changes are required in this regard.
State funding is generally available for so called "qualified political parties”, referring to those parties - which separately or together with others in an electoral bloc - overcome a 3% threshold in parliamentary elections and a 3% threshold in local self-government elections.
The basic financing for a qualified political subject is equivalent to 300,000 GEL. However, parties can gain more or less, if there are several parties in a bloc, or are funded based on received votes in the elections, or the number of gained mandates, or gender-balanced election lists.
A qualified subject retains financing at least until the next elections.
Despite the fact that some political parties failed to accumulate 3% of the votes in last month’s Parliamentary Elections, they still managed to retain the status of a qualified subject based on the outcomes of 2014 self-Government elections, as the next self-Government elections will take place in 2017.
After last month’s Parliamentary Elections, only three parties managed to appear in the 150-seat Parliament; the Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia party with 115 seats, the United National Movement with 27 seats and the Alliance of Patriots with 6 seats.
Two remaining seats were occupied by an independent majoritarian, MP Salome Zourabishvili and an Industrial Party majoritarian lawmaker, Simon Nozadze.
During the first session in Parliament last Friday, Nozadze joined the majority and created a faction called Georgian Dream Industrials with the ruling party.
Consequently, based on the law, through the creation of the faction in Parliament by the member of the Industrial Party - a party that was a member of the Georgian Dream coalition in 2012-2016 but participated separately in the recent October Parliamentary Elections and accumulated 0.78% of votes - gained the basic state annual financing of 300,000 GEL.
Prior to the elections, the Alliance of Patriots created a bloc with the Traditionalists, Free Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s Way, Georgia’s Armed Forces Veterans and Patriots Political Movement and the New Christian Democrats.
All of the parties are now 'qualified subjects'.
Meanwhile, the United National Movement created a bloc with European Georgia.
The leader of the Girchi non-parliamentary opposition party, which didn’t participate in the elections, Zurab Japaridze, said the number of the qualified subjects was boosted at the expense of parties that are not known for public.
“In the course of the following four years, many of the parties which became qualified subjects would consume state money for nothing,” Japaridze said, adding that there was no need for political parties to gain state financing.
He and the opposition United National Movement also believe the Industrial Party’s additional financing was unfair.
The ruling team and the Industrials say the financing was legitimate as it is drafted in the law, but Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party member Nuktri Kantaria said the law needed to be changed in terms of granting the status of a qualified subject.
The qualified subjects that will receive state funding until 2017 local government or 2020 Parliamentary Elections are as follows:
Georgian Dream –Democratic Georgia party- 2,082,238 GEL
United National Movement- 1,122,526GEL
Conservative Party- 236,572GEL
Republican Party- 236,572GEL
Georgia’s Christian-Conservative party - 598,698GEL
European Georgia-– 241,625GEL
Democratic Movement-United Georgia-241,625GEL
United Democratic Movement- 997,037GEL
Alliance of Patriots- 997,037GEL
Union of Georgian Traditionalists-87,024GEL
Free Georgia- 87,024GEL
Freedom-Zviad Gamsakhurdia’s Way- 87,024GEL
Georgia’s Armed Forces’ Veterans and Patriots Political Movement-87,024GEL
New Christian Democrats-87,024GEL
Movement State for People-195,511GEL
Civil Platform-New Georgia-195,511GEL