A bill cutting off funding to political parties whose members of parliament do not take up at least half of their mandates in parliament was passed on June 22.
The bill, which was put forward by the ruling Georgian Dream party, was supported by 79 MPs, while 22 came out against.
The bill was submitted to parliament in December when the opposition political parties boycotted and refused to enter the parliament and was sent to the Venice Commission for a conclusion.
The bill states that apolitical party can lose the right to state funding if the actual number of members of parliament elected by that party is reduced by at least half of the seats it receives or if the absence of more than a half of plenary sessions is unreasonable, says the bill.
The party will not receive budget funding for the next six calendar months if more than half of the members of parliament elected by its nomination do not attend more than half of the plenary sessions during the relevant previous session of the parliament of Georgia due to unreasonable reasons. In these circumstances, the funding of the party from the state budget of Georgia will be suspended from the first day of the next calendar month,” says the bill.
Under the bill on Political Associations of Citizens, a political party that has lost state funding in the parliamentary elections of 2020, before the enactment of this law, will be eligible for the restoration of funding.
Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs Anri Okhanashvili commented:
This political party will receive all the money that it would have received from the state budget of Georgia before the enactment of this law, if the party has not lost the above-mentioned right to receive funding,” says the bill.
The Venice Commission and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) called on the Parliament of Georgia to revise the legislative package on March 20.
The bill was assessed as a danger to democracy and raised several questions from the parliamentary opposition.
The fact that such a restriction has a negative effect on democracy has been pointed out by the OSCE and ODIHR,“ said MP Salome Samadashvili from the faction Lelo – Partnership for Georgia.
At this time, only the Labor Party is refusing to exercise its parliamentary mandate.
If the party terminates this mandate when the law comes into force, then it will not receive state funding.
The law should come into force on February 1, 2022.