Bill proposes stripping parties of state funding if they refuse to take up parliamentary mandates

The bill is expected to be voted on next week. Photo: parliament of Georgia press office., 17 Dec 2020 - 13:36, Tbilisi,Georgia

The ruling Georgian Dream party has initiated a bill which says that if political parties refuse to take up their mandates in parliament they will not receive state funding (or have it suspended for a year), their MPs will not receive salaries and they will not be able to use free media time during municipal and parliamentary elections. 

The bill also allows the disqualification of parties from registration for elections if their leaders violate the state constitution. 

Ruling party MP Irakli Kobakhidze has stated that the founder and the leader of the opposition United National Movement party, Mikheil Saakashvili (who is a citizen of Ukraine) has violated the law several times.

Kobakhidze said that the bill, which will be voted on next week, ‘will decrease polarisation in Georgian politics and make healthy opposition parties stronger.’ 

The European Georgia opposition party said that the bill is a 'hysteric reaction of Bidzina Ivanishvili (the head and the founder of the ruling party) to the refusal of the opposition to enter parliament. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

Opposition parties say that the ruling party is trying to suppress and threaten them and force them to enter parliament. 

This is a hysteric reaction of Bidzina Ivanishvili (the head and the founder of the ruling party) to the opposition’s unity not to enter parliament. He is angry because of the single-party parliament. Making threats that parties will not receive state funding is a blackmail. State funding is for political pluralism and presence of several parties in the state legislature,” a member of European Georgia opposition Irma Nadirashvili said. 

Eight opposition parties and election blocs which were voted in on the October 31 parliamentary elections say that the elections were fabricated and are demanding repeat elections. 

The diplomatic corps are now mediating talks between the ruling party and the opposition to help the parties end the political crisis. 

The ruling party says that no repeat elections will take place as the elections were held ‘in line with democratic standards.’ 

They say that the recent recognition of the mistake by ISFED NGO in its parallel vote count data is yet further evidence that no fabrication took place. 

Several opposition parties have officially addressed parliament to stop the status of their MPs.