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Opposition’s plan for the first sitting of the newly elected parliament

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, December 11
On December 11, at 12:00, in the garden of the Student-Youth Palace, part of the opposition parties will sign a memorandum on the termination of party lists and powers in the Parliament of Georgia.

All the opposition parties say they will stay in the boycott mode and will not take part in the first session, although not all of them are going to take part in the event planned in the student-youth garden.

The deputies of Strategy Builder and Lelo are canceling the list and refusing their mandates. They made this decision after discussing it at the meeting of the Political Council. The United National Movement, European Georgia, and Labor Party are going to take part in the joint event together with them.

The Alliance of Patriots, which participates in the dialogue facilitated by the ambassadors but does not attend the meetings of the opposition, is boycotting entering the parliament as well. The party wants to close the parliamentary list, yet will not join the event planned by the opposition in today's ceremony and will conduct all the necessary legal procedures independently.

Zurab Japaridze, the founder of the party Girchi and number one on the list, will not take part in the joint event either. He said this does not mean that he plans to maintain the mandate until the resource for dialogue is exhausted. The Girchi member Vakhtang Megrelishvili says the other members of the parliamentary list, Iago Khvichia, Aleksandre Rakviashvili, and himself, have not yet spoken about the 'visual aspect' but are participating in the parliament's boycott.

One of the leaders of the Citizens party, Levan Ioseliani, does not like the idea of resigning from the mandates before the end of the negotiation process. According to him, this process is sabotage of negotiations. Another leader of this party, Aleko Elisashvili claimed that the Georgian Dream has backed on all four requirements of the opposition, and added that he will only enter parliament if all of them are met.

The first sitting of the newly elected parliament is scheduled for today, December 11. Local watchdog Transparency International Georgia (TIG) released an article, discussing how the opposition’s potential absence from the parliament is going to affect its work.

TIG writes that in Georgia, as a parliamentary republic, the one-party parliament will not be able to function as a representative body. It will not be able to operate properly and control the government. Parliamentary positions cannot be fully staffed and many decisions cannot be made by Parliament due to the insufficient number of votes.

According to the organization, the 90-member parliament will not be able to make decisions that require 100 or 113 votes, and it will be very difficult to mobilize 90 votes. Parliament adopts constitutional amendments by a two-thirds majority (100 votes), as well as the law on agricultural land ownership. Legislature passes constitutional law by a three-fourths majority (113 votes) within a single convocation parliament.

Parliament elects the Public Defender by three-fifths (90 votes) of the full membership, approves the constitutional agreement, elects the judges of the Constitutional Court, elects the members of the High Council of Justice, and declares no confidence in the Board of Trustees of the Public Broadcaster.

Parliament impeaches the President by two-thirds (100 votes) of the full membership.

Parliament ratifies, denounces, and rescinds treaties related to the territorial integrity of the state or the change of the state border by three-quarters of the total number (113 votes).

Officials whose positions will remain vacant: the confidence group will be represented by 3 members instead of 5, as the opposition quota, according to the regulations, cannot be filled by the majority. This means that: control of the security sector, which is traditionally weak, cannot be effectively exercised; the Parliament Speaker will have two deputies instead of four, as two deputies must be elected from opposition factions; the position of one deputy chairman of the committee will also remain vacant, as one out of 3 deputy chairmen of the committee must be an opposition representative.

The Parliament will have one member instead of two members in the Prosecutorial Council since one member must be a representative of the parliamentary opposition. If there is a need to set up a competition commission for the Public Broadcaster's Board of Trustees, it will have 6 members instead of 9 as the opposition has the right to nominate 3 members to Parliament. The Parliament will have two members instead of three in the Investment Selection Committee of the Pension Agency Investment Council, as the opposition is unable to nominate a member from among its members.

According to parliamentary regulations, opposition representatives must make up at least half of the members of the temporary commission of inquiry. Consequently, a temporary commission of inquiry cannot be set up in a parliament where there is no opposition.

According to the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament, the representation of the parliamentary majority in the Ethics Council should not exceed half of the number of members of the Ethics Council.

The faction is given a maximum of 15 minutes for the speech. Consequently, the debate time will be significantly reduced, and it will only take the form of expression of opinion by the majority.

Permanent parliamentary delegations will be staffed only by members of the majority, and these delegations will not be approved by international organizations.

The composition of the standing parliamentary delegations shall be determined based on proportional representation quotas. In the absence of opposition, the parliamentary delegation becomes only a delegation of the ruling party.

It should be noted that international organizations are required to require the participation of the opposition in parliamentary delegations, as well as gender balance (Rules of Procedure of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe/NATO). The permanent parliamentary delegation nominated by the country acquires power only after approval by an international organization. Consequently, the country may not have delegations to important international organizations for 4 years.