Forty-five non-governmental organizations sent an appeal to parliament

18 Dec, 2013

The government-initiated draft of the Local Self-Governance Code was a compromise version negotiated by the leading political coalition. We believe that the proposed model does not fully reflect election promises made by Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream Coalition, as well as principles declared in the government’s March 1, 2013 local self-governance reform strategy. However, we, as representatives of civil society, have supported it none the less, because we believe that it will be the first important and irreversible step on the path to establishing genuine local self-governance in the country.

Unfortunately, groundless concerns raised by opposition interests outside of the Parliament before the bill was submitted led to the removal of key innovations from the draft. As a result of this “consensus”:

  • The number of cities to become self-governed has been reduced;
  • The question of the direct election of heads of municipalities (Gamgebeli) and mayors is not clear;
  • The population of Tbilisi will not be able to handle community issues at their discretion; and
  • Self-governing bodies will not be able to control governors.

The most regrettable circumstance is that:

  • No public councils – which serve as tools for civil involvement and control in cities and rural areas – will be set up.

We believe this “consensus” will further enforce the already existing centralized system instead of contributing to the development of local democracy. Moreover, the current model of the code runs counter to the promises made during the election campaign and rejects the reform strategy that had been declared. Such activities of Parliament trigger suspicions that there are some forces within the central government itself who are not willing to carry out a sweeping reform and want to maintain tight control on the local level.

We are sorry that the new ruling political force has failed to learn the lessons from the previous government. The current situation is reminiscient of the developments in 2005, when the government failed to take advantage of the opportunity to carry out sweeping reforms and as a result lost public support and, ultimately, power.

We still hope that Georgian MPs will acknowledge their responsibility towards the population of Georgia, their constituents, and will not miss this chance to develop democracy on the local level.

1.      International Center for Civil Culture  (ICCC)

2.      Association Civitas Georgica

3.      Civic Integration Foundation

4.      Civil Society Research and Development Center

5.      Local Democracy Development Network

6.      Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)

7.      Gori Information Center

8.      Center for Training and Consultancy (CTC)

9.      Liberal Academy Tbilisi Foundation

10.  The Open Society Georgia Foundation  (OSGF)

11.  The Centre for Cultural Relations – Caucasian House

12.  Green Caucasus

13.  Civil Society Institute (CSI)

14.  Centre of Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG)

15.  Green Alternative

16.  School-Family-Society

17.  Independent Journalists’ House

18.  Public Movement Multinational Georgia

19.   Union of Democrat Meskhs

20.  Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)

21.  Human Rights Priority

22.  Freedom and Democracy Development Institute


24.  Economic Policy Experts Center

25.  IDP Women Association Tankhmoba

26. Association Gori Disability Club

27.  Caucasian Institute of Economic and Social Research

28.  UN Association of Georgia

29.  TASO Foundation

30.  Centre of Strategic Research and Development of Georgia (CSRDG)

31.  Tkibuli District Development Fund

32.  Public Defender

33.  Multinational Georgia

34.  The Greens Movement of Georgia Friends of the Earth

35.  Public Monitoring and Research Center

36.  Safe Environment

37.  NGO Borjgali

38.  Human Rights Center

39.  Civil Initiative

40.  Nukriani Union

41.  The Imereti Scientists’ Union

42.  Guria Youth Resource Center

43.  Energy Efficiency Center Georgia

44.  NGO For Better Future

45.   NGO Tolerant