Gov’t approves to revise local Self-Governance bill

The administrative map of Georgia, 10 Dec 2013 - 00:00, Tbilisi,Georgia

The government plans to approve the amendments to the bill on local self-governance, and changing the Municipality Regional Unities into Regional Consulting Councils, according to the Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, Tengiz Shergelashvili.

The bill introduces a new structure at the regional level, which is called the Council of Union, which will be led by the Regional Governor. Each Sakrebulo (district) can have from a minimum of three to maximum nine members in the Council depending on number of voters in the municipalities. But under the new amendments the Council will be composed of the mayor of the City, the Chairman, and Deputy Chairman of Sakrebulo.

The amendment was initialed by the Parliament members from the ruling coalition at the Parliament debates between the PMs and non-parliament opposition.

It is also expected to reduce the number of towns with directly elected mayors from the initially planned eighteen to twelve.

According to the draft law, it was proposes that the number of self-governing cities to increase as towns with at least 15,000 residents automatically become eligible for the status of "self-governing city. The mayors of these cities will be elected directly by voters. Now there are five "self-governing cities Tbilisi; Kutaisi; Batumi; Rustavi and Poti and only in Tbilisi the mayor is elected directly by voters.

Shergelashvili said that the government will change the rule of defining the self-governing citiesthat is based on number of population by the draft code.

In particular, the five cities which currently have a status of "self-governed towns (capital Tbilisi; Kutaisi in Imereti; port town of Poti in Samegrelo; Rustavi in Kvemo Kartli region and Batumi in Adjara), and seven other towns will also be able to directly elect their mayors: Zugdidi in Samegrelo; Ambrolauri in Racha-Lechkhumi; Telavi in Kakheti region; Mtskheta in Mtskheta-Mtianeti region; Gori in Shida Kartli; Akhaltsikhe in Samtskhe-Javakheti region;

Under the new proposed amendments, Samtredia, Khashuri, Senaki, Zestaponi, Marneuli, Kobuleti, Tskaltubo and Kaspi will no longer be granted the self-governing status.

Moreover, these towns with their surrounding villages (making up municipalities) will still be able to directly elect municipality heads (gamgebeli);