Georgian Civil Society Organizations Appeal to Parliament on Local Self-Governance

Georgian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) issued a statement and appealed to the Georgian Parliament concerning the Code on local self-governance on July 9. The statement has 55 signatories, including organizations such as the Open Society Foundation Georgia, Transparency International Georgia, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, and many others based in different cities of the country.

According to the NGOs, in 2014, when Georgian authorities began amending the Code on Local Self-Governance, a number of civil society organizations cooperated with the government. They conducted interviews with citizens in 150 villages, in each region. Based on the opinions collected, the organizations recommended introducing additional forms for civic participation.

The initial version of the bill included creation of a general assembly of community and, more importantly, a permanent body - a public council. However, later this initiative was ignored by the government and the concept of a public council had been removed from the document.

“We believe that the inexistence of a public council as a permanent representative body of the general assembly, will prevent genuine citizen participation in local self-governance for a number of reasons,” the NGOs claim.

“What’s more, the current version of the bill excludes establishing the forms active of citizen engagement experienced in European countries. Partial delegation of municipal powers would move citizen participation in the local self-governance to a much higher level,” reads the statement.

Given the abovementioned, the signatory NGOs are appealing to the Georgian Parliament with a request to return to the issue and make a final decision after having consulted with civil society organizations.

Nino Japarashvili

10 July 2015 11:58