Statement of the NGOs regarding the reform of self-government
The NGOs consider that the idea of exercising self-government by citizens is the core value, upon which the whole system of democratic governance is based. All democratic countries share the right of citizens to take part in governing the matters of local importance. Only a local government with high legitimacy and inclusionary policies can create necessary conditions for development and provide effective governance, including governance that remains close to a citizen.
Self-government is the core foundation for development and is exercised by citizens with their own responsibility via elected local self-government bodies without infringing State sovereignty in accordance with the rights endowed by the Constitution of Georgia and the European Charter of Local Self-Government, ratified by Georgia.
We cannot agree with the opinion, that the idea of citizens independently deciding local problems would become the basis for separatism and disintegration of the country. Generally, each ruling party has used this argument since the 90s in favor of their interests and by shaping the legal requirements in accordance with their needs. In the long term, precisely this had led to the current system of “facade” self-government, which is dysfunctional and brings no benefits for citizens.
Despite the fact, that the representatives of civil society have certain reservations regarding some Articles of the “Local Self-Government Code”, we still do not consider that any attempt of discrediting the reform is acceptable. This is especially applicable, for those parts of the Code, where exercise of the citizens’ right to self-government does not contradict the national interests of Georgia and its sovereignty, rather helps to vertically balance the Government and establishes a self-government process which is centered around a citizen.
Following on from the above-mentioned:
We urge the Government of Georgia and the Parliament of Georgia, as the main guarantors of the Constitutional rights, not to follow the idea of discrediting self-government and not to impede the ongoing reforms.
The Government should not deviate from its pre-election promise and by the next self-government elections, should create the type of legislation, which enables citizens to exercise their rights with their own responsibilities by effective forms of self-government in accordance with the Constitution and legislation of Georgia and via elected bodies and officials. As for the regional level, the citizens should be granted the right to control Government appointed officials.
1. International Centre for Civil Culture (ICCC)
2. International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
3. Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)
4. Open Society Georgia Foundations (OSGF)
5. Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia)
6. Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)
7. Association “Civitas Georgica”
8. Network for Development of Local Democracy
9. Civil Integration Fund
10. Community Development Center
11. Civil Society Institute (CSI)
12. Consultation and Training Center (CTC)
13. Economic Policy Research Center
14. Center for Development and Research of Civil Society
15. Green Alternative
16. Center for Strategic Research and Development of Georgia
17. Foundation “Liberal Academy Tbilisi”
18. Public Advocacy
19. Green Caucasus
20. Gori Informational Center
21. “Taso” Foundations
22. Public Movement “Multinational Georgia”
23. Union of Democratic Meskhetians