NGO Assesses Parliament’s Work
By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Friday, July 27
On 25 July, Transparency International (TI) Georgia published the report about the work of the Parliament of Georgia which covers the time period from November 18, 2016 till December 31, 2017. The report distinguished the positive and negative trends in various directions. TI defined 4 main aspects as a positive trend from the 2016-17 work of Georgian Parliament, including: improved legislative process, exercising oversight, increased activity of MP’s, and more transparency of the legislative body’s work.
Each of these aspects include sub-pillars, providing more details about the functioning of the Parliament. For example, legislative process was assessed as a positive trend for the following reasons: no plenary session was prevented due to the absence of a quorum, the government presented the legislative plan twice and this fact speaks about accountability and facilitation of the legislative process in general; the Gender Equality Council is more active; and there are more women holding the posts of committee chairpersons.
According to the TI report, there are positive changes in the process of exercising oversight rights, for example: the members of the Government attend committee sessions and present reports on their activities; the involvement of civil society in the election of public officials has been strengthened: for example;
Positively has changed activeness of MP’s. During the period covered by the report, 92 MPs out of 150, proposed legislative initiatives
Parliament’s activities to increase transparency were positively assessed. In the process of implementing “Open Parliament Action Plan 2017”, the parliament started to reveal information. Various types of information were published on parliament’s website, among them: expenses of the bureaus of MPs elected from single-seat districts, of information about business trip expenses allocated for official or working visits by MPs.
According to the report, despite the positive trends in the legislative and oversight process, there are serious shortcoming in these directions. The situation has worsened in regard to systematically speeding up the hearing of draft laws without good reason and postponing an entry into force of the initiatives; beside this, in some cases the activities of working groups were formal and group members were not involved in the process.
As for shortcoming of oversight process, the report reads that MPs do not make a proper use of the possibilities of oversight over the executive branch and During the period covered by the study, no investigative commission was established, even with regard that there were many politically sensitive cases.
The report also underlines the fact, that for almost a year, the parliament was unable to staff the Group of Trust which has a power of special oversight over the [defence and security] sector;
One of the negative trends defined by the TI’s report was lack of accountability. Although, there were many instances when MPs violated the norms of ethics, including with participation of representatives of the executive branch, the Parliament has not adopted Code of Ethics;beside this, MPs fill declarations incorrectly, some of them doesn’t indicate companies they own.
Report includes some interesting statistics too. For example, from November 2016 to December 2017 expenses of the business trips of 117 MPs amounted to GEL 1,720,052.
Top 5 most active MPs who initiated draft laws are: Eka Beselia with 72 drafts (50 were adopted), Gedevan Popkhadze with 52 (43 were adopted), Vano Zardiashvili 42 (29 were adopted), Guram Macharashvili 42 (33 were adopted) and David Matikashvili 37 (25 were adopted). All these MPs represent the ruling party. As for the minority, during the research period, only 23 drafts were initiated, but none of them were adopted.