Performance Assessment of the Parliament 2022
In 2022, the transparency of the Parliament significantly deteriorated. Media and Civil Society representatives were unjustifiably denied entering Parliament and attending committee sittings, with general reference to safety rules of the Parliament. The Parliament revoked permanent access passes to the NGOs' representatives who monitor the parliamentary work.
- The submission of the European Union membership application marked a pivotal event for Georgia in 2022. The Parliament led the process of implementation of 12 recommendations by organizing working groups and submitting legislative initiatives.mi. For fulfilling 12 recommendations, the creation of the Anti-Corruption Bureau and legislative amendments for strengthening parliamentary control and enhancing gender equality are notable steps. However, the Parliament failed to ensure adequate inclusivity in the process - sufficient participation of the opposition and civil society in it;
- Although legislation regulating parliamentary control was improved, the parliament does not take adequate steps to equip the opposition with sufficient oversight functions and strengthen its role. Contrary, the parliamentary majority is trying to weaken the opposition by stripping the opposition representative of their mandates, for example, in Badri Japaridze’s case;
- In 2022, in the Parliament of the tenth convocation, the President of Georgia exercised the veto power for the first time. President Zurabishvili vetoed the legislation regulating covert wiretapping, which substantively deteriorated the private life protection standard;
- The Prime Minister appeared before the Parliament 3 times; 12 ministerial hours and 7 interpellation sessions were held. 15 thematic research groups were created.
The activity of Members of the Parliament (Statistical Data)
- 99 members of the Parliament used the right of legislative initiative, of which Davit Usupashvili from the opposition (39 draft laws) and Rati Ionatamishvili from the majority initiated the most draft laws (38 draft laws);
- 126 members of the Parliament were exercised right to speak. Mikheil Sarjveladze from the majority (242) and Roman Gotsiridze from the opposition (93) had the most speeches at the plenary session;
- The right to speech was not exercised by 18 members of the Parliament; 10 of which are representatives of the majority (Elguja Gotsiridze, Isko daseni, Sumbat Kiureghiani, Levan Kobiashvili, Samvel Manukiani, Gogi Meshveliani, Dimitri Samkharadze, Goderdzi Chankseliani, Vasil Chigogidze, Viktor Japaridze) and 11 of which are representatives of the opposition (Grigol Vashadze, Abdula Ismailovi, Manuchar Kvirkvelia, Koba Nakopia, Ramaz Nikolaishvili, Bachuki Kardava, Tsezar Chocheli, Dilar Khabuliani)
- The plenary session was missed the most times by Koba Nakopia from the opposition (13 absences), and Eliso Bolkvadze from the majority (11 absences);
- A total of 1,739,782.93 GEL was allocated for overseas business trips of the 84 members of Parliament
- 68,704.69 GEL was deducted from the salary of 25 members of the Parliament based on disciplinary responsibility;
- The number of parliamentary questions surged during the reporting period, with 52 MPs submitting a total of 5093 questions, Ana Tsitlidze from the opposition asked the most, 1005 parliamentary questions.
Assessment of important legislative amendments
Progressively assessed laws include: Institutionalization of the gender impact assessment, a new rule for victims of domestic violence to access shelter.
Positive legislative amendments that require further improvement:. Creation of the anti-corruption bureau, assessment of the amendment to the Election Code, amendments regarding parliamentary oversight.
The following legislative amendments have been negatively assessed: Law on Covert Wiretapping which significantly deteriorates the standard of human rights protection, Legal Regulation of Hate Speech.
- According to the number of considered draft laws and the number of sessions held, the most active were the Committees on Legal Issues and Human Rights, and the Committee on Diaspora and Caucasus Issues was the passive one;
- The number of draft laws being considered under expedited procedures increased. The Parliament adopted 125 draft laws under the expedited procedure;
- The trend of prolonging the deliberation period for draft laws persisted. The deliberation period extensions were utilized a total of 174 times for 79 legislative packages (363 draft laws). During the reporting period, the deliberation period was extended the most (5 times) for the initiative submitted by the opposition regarding the establishment of an Anti-corruption Agency;
- According to the trend of the last years, the Parliament renders support exclusively to legislative proposals put forth by state agencies, rendering this crucial mechanism of citizen involvement futile.
- Neither the opposition nor the majority utilized the mechanism of summoning government members and accountable individuals to the committee sitting;
- 5 requests for the establishment of an investigative commission were submitted to the Parliament, including corruption in the judicial system and the events that occurred in Tbilisi on July 5-6, 2021, but none was created;
- Ministers did not provide comprehensive and timely responses to parliamentary questions. Out of the 5093 questions submitted, a staggering 997 were left unanswered. It is noteworthy that a majority of these unanswered questions were posed by the opposition. Most of the answers were not given by the mayors of the municipalities, questions also were left unanswered by the Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Tea Tsulukiani (16 questions) and the Minister of Defense, Juansher Burchuladze (14 questions);
- The Trust Group carried out work without being fully manned.
Accountability and Openness of the Parliament
- Entering the Parliament building remained a challenge for representatives of the media and civil sector. They were unjustifiably denied entering Parliament and attending committee sittings, with general reference to safety rules of the Parliament;
- The Parliament revoked permanent entry passes to select local and international non-governmental organizations that monitor the parliamentary activities, which constitutes a significant obstacle to monitor the parliamentary activity;
- Despite the adoption of the Code of Ethics, the establishment of the Ethics Council has been delayed until now, resulting in the inability to enforce the provisions outlined in the Code of Ethics.
- Despite the launch of a new website for the Parliament, there are significant areas for improvement, particularly in the search function and the manner of publishing specific types of information. Additionally, obtaining timely and accurate information from the parliamentary committees and the bureaus of the majoritarian MPs poses a challenge
In a parliamentary republic, the legislature assumes a critically significant role by fulfilling its functions of legislation and oversight. Therefore, the Parliament is compelled to utilize all accessible mechanisms in order to proficiently fulfill the responsibilities mandated by the law. During the process of legislation and oversight, the Parliament must prioritize issues of significant importance to the country.
- It is crucial for the majority and the opposition to cooperate in resolving pressing issues for the country, including in fulfilling 12 recommendations of the European Union;
- The Rules of Procedure should include provisions that ensure the meaningful involvement of the opposition in the election of parliamentary officials and the appointment of opposition members as committee chairpersons, which represent the best international practice;
- In order to prevent politically motivated appointments of heads of entities accountable to the Parliament, it should be mandatory to consult with opposition factions, and the Rules of Procedure should establish a requirement to reach decisions through consensus;
- Entry to the parliament building should not be denied to citizens without valid justification. The Parliament should actively promote the involvement of civil society and the media in its activities, refraining from creating artificial barriers;
- Draft laws should be deliberated within the designated timeframes outlined in the Rules of Procedure, and the period for considering draft laws should not be extended without valid justification. Additionally, the draft laws must not be considered under the expedited procedure;
- In order to effectively fulfill the role of parliamentary oversight, both the majority and the opposition must utilize the control mechanisms outlined in the Rules of Procedure. The utilization of parliamentary oversight mechanisms becomes especially critical during times of crisis within the country;
- Accountable bodies and government members must assist the Parliament in conducting a comprehensive and effective oversight, must honor parliamentary oversight procedures set out in the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure;
- The parliamentary control over the security sector must be strengthened. The complete formation of the Trust Group should be prioritized, with opposition factions being afforded the opportunity to participate in the Trust Group in accordance with the procedures outlined in the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament;
- In order to implement the Code of Ethics, it is essential for the parliament to expeditiously appoint members of the Ethics Council.