The GYLA and TI Georgia release a statement regarding amendments to the Law on Political Associations of Citizens
The recent days have seen a discussion about amendments made by the Parliament to the Law on Political Associations of Citizens. As questions about this topic still persist, we would like to once more turn the public’s attention to the procedure by which the law was passed. We believe that the Parliament passed the Amendments to the Law on Political Associations of Citizens in violation of the procedure established by its Rules of Procedure. Article 2 of the said law (which concerns the return of unspent donations that were received in violation of law by political associations of citizens and subjects related to them to donors) only appeared in the draft law after the third committee hearing, which was a violation of the Parliament’s Rules of Procedure. Paragraph 4 of Article 155 of the Rules of Procedure only allows making editorial changes to a draft law at the third hearing.
In addition, the wording of Article 2 which was considered at the third hearing does not coincide with the version published on the official website of Legislative Herald of Georgia, which causes confusion, considering that MPs haven’t expressed any remarks regarding the content and editorial aspect of the article. We would also like to note that we have at our disposal a version that was published on the official website of Legislative Herald at about 3:30 PM on December 29, 2011, in which Article 2 reads as follows: ‘Political associations of citizens and persons defined by Paragraph 1 of Article 261, which is provided for by Paragraph 6 of Article 1 of this Law, which have received funding in violation of law and have not spent these funds by the effective date of this Law, shall be obliged to return these funds to the donor(s) not later than within three calendar days of the effective date of this Law. In the event of non-fulfillment of this obligation, the funds shall be transferred to the State’s ownership.’ By now, the norm of Article 2 of the draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Political Associations of Citizens which was published on the official website of Legislative Herald still remains in this form; accordingly, the wording of the said article of the law has not been changed since 3:30 PM of December 29.
Due to all the foregoing, it is important to inform the public about when the said article of the law was amended. We call on the Parliament of Georgia to publish the version of the amendments to the Law on Political Association of Citizens which was put to a vote at the third hearing and forwarded for signature to the President of Georgia.