GEO

Overview of the work of Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Majoritarian MPs and their regional bureaus

09 October, 2013

A majoritarian MP’s bureau, whose expenses are covered by the Parliament's budget, is set up to organize work with the constituency, identify the problems faced by the local population, lobby the executive and self-governing authorities to address the needs of the population, and ensure that the MPs participate in formulating solutions for local affairs.

We have released information on the activities of the Zugdidi majoritarian MP's bureau in May 2013. This time, Transparency International Georgia inquired into the extent to which the duties of the other majoritarian MPs’ bureaus in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti were fulfilled. Transparency International also inquired into the frequency of their meetings with citizens and the type of studies that they carry out to identify the population's needs. Additionally, we were interested in the number of staff employed in the single-seat MPs’ bureaus and their salaries.

Notably, all bureaus provided a general answer to our questions, while the Senaki, Khobi, Chkhorotsku and Poti majoritarian MPs' bureaus responded to our written questions with considerable violations of the time-limits.

Under the existing regulations, GEL 5,000 are allocated to each bureau on a monthly basis. The Parliament’s Administration may use this amount for the following based on the request of the majoritarian MP: purchases necessary items for the bureau's functioning; pays the rent of the office space and the salaries of the staff (Regulations of the Parliament of Georgia, Article 19, Sub-Paragraph 2).

The responses received show that the majoritarian MPs' bureaus have not carried out any studies to identify the citizens' needs – they only based their conclusion on the citizens' written submissions, which outlined that social and healthcare issues and the low employment rate are key problems.

Abasha: Davit Dartsmelidze

234 persons have addressed the Abasha majoritarian MP’s bureau with oral and written applications for assistance, mainly concerning social and healthcare issues. According to the bureau, majoritarian MP Davit Dartsmelidze has met the population several times concerning the sold lands. The Abasha majoritarian MP’s bureau has not carried out any study to identify the local needs in the municipality, "owing to the fact that the problems of the population are evident as it is" - states the letter sent by the bureau.

Senaki: Guram Misabishvili

197 citizens have addressed the Senaki majoritarian MP’s bureau in writing, requesting the solution of social, healthcare and infrastructural problems. In accordance with the bureau, Senaki majoritarian MP Guram Misabishvili has organized 44 meetings with the population, out of which only 25 were public. It is unclear from the received letter whether the bureau conducts any study to identify the population's needs.

Mestia: Viktor Japaridze

The Mestia majoritarian MP's bureau has received 20 written and 23 oral submissions, and the Mestia majoritarian MP Viktor Japaridze has met the local population up to 10 times. According to the bureau, he urges the Government of Georgia to allocate funds for implementing the following projects: rehabilitation of schools; the water supply of villages; construction of anti-flood gabions and water retaining structures; and the construction of the Mestia-Ushguli road. The bureau states that 17 million GEL have been already allocated for the construction of the Mestia-Ushguli road. As of July 2013, the Mestia majoritarian MP's bureau has not carried out the study to identify the population's needs.

Tsalenjikha: Levan Kardava

47 citizens have addressed the Tsalenjikha majoritarian MP's bureau in writing, requesting a solution to healthcare, employment and social issues; along with a compensation for damages incurred by the earthquake and/or fire, and the implementation of various infrastructural projects. The majoritarian MP Levan Kardava has met with residents of the following villages: Etseri, Pakhulani, Muchava, Chale and the Zghvaia Settlement. It is unclear from the received letter whether the bureau conducts any study to identify the population's needs. A TV-program "MP's Hour" is aired periodically by the local television in Tsalenjikha, in which citizens are given the opportunity to  ask the majoritarian MP questions live.

According to the bureau, petitions sent to the Tsalenjikha Municipality Gamgeoba and Sakrebulo based on the citizens' submissions, are either answered late or left without any response.

Khobi: Goderdzi Bukia

65 citizens have approached the Khobi majoritarian MP's bureau, and the majoritarian MP Goderdzi Bukia has organized 27 public meetings to discuss various infrastructural projects. At the same meetings, the bureau's employees have "orally identified" problems within the municipality, of which unemployment was considered the most pressing. Goderdzi Bukia lobbies the construction of the Khobi-Chkhorotsku road, which is currently at the completion stage.

Martvili: Nauli Janashia

The Martvili majoritarian MP's bureau has received 50 applications in writing and 472 oral submissions. Remarkably, only the Martvili majoritarian MP's bureau has provided the information on the job descriptions of the bureau's staff. The Martvili majoritarian MP's bureau has left the question on studies to identify the population's needs unanswered.

Chkhorotsku: Vakhtang Lemonjava

42 citizens have submitted applications with the Chkhorotsku majoritarian MP's bureau. As the bureau's letter states: ‘at meetings with the citizens, the majoritarian MP Vakhtang Lemonjava, discusses the social problems and periodically addresses the Regional Coordination Center of the Social Service Agency with petitions to once again verify the socio-economic status of various beneficiaries.’ The Chkhorotsku majoritarian MP's bureau has remained silent on the question concerning the studies to identify the population's needs. According to the bureau, Vakhtang Lemonjava is working on the "draft Law on ecological migrants".

Poti: Eka Beselia

The Poti majoritarian MP's bureau started functioning in 29 November 2012. Up to 3,000 citizens have filed oral submissions, and 1,011 citizens have addressed the bureau in writing. The analysis of content of submissions has identified three major problems: healthcare, social, and legal protection issues. These very issues were discussed in 25 public meetings held by the majoritarian MP Eka Beselia since 1 December 2012. Eka Beselia has initiated several draft Laws in the Parliament of Georgia.

Despite our written request, none of the bureaus have provided the minutes of meetings of majoritarian MPs with the electorate.

The information received demonstrates that the number of staff of the majoritarian MPs' bureaus and their salaries are varying.

Please see the number of staff and total monthly salaries in the below diagram:

Bureau

Number of Staff

Monthly Total Salaries

Zugdidi

3

3650

Senaki

3

2230

Martvili

5

2550

Abasha

4

2300

Mestia

6

2920

Tsalenjikha

6

3180

Khobi

5

3400

Chkhorotsku

5

3000

Poti

5

2575


Unlike the MPs elected through proportional lists, being elected a majoritarian MP increases the MP’s responsibility and obligations towards his/her own electorate even further. A majoritarian MP must establish active communication with the electorate, study the population's needs from time to time, actively cooperate with the local self-government and relevant ministries to solve the identified problems, and initiate various bills in the Parliament of Georgia when the need for this is identified.

Author: TI Georgia