Public Opinion on Local Government and Local Democracy Development

9 Dec, 2011

On December 7, the Open Society Georgia Foundation (OSGF) unveiled an annual report on the development of local democracy in the Courtyard Marriot Hotel.

The report deals with local government changes and the decentralization process in 2009-2010.  The OSGF prepared similar reports in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

With respect to the decentralization process, the report addresses and evaluates the following questions:

  • The current reform policy and general analysis of the process;
  • The impact of the 2010 constitutional amendments on the local government;
  • Regional development trends in Georgia;
  • Local government laws adopted in 2009-2010 and their enforcement;
  • Government activities in the field of self-government, evaluation of local programs and projects;
  • The current situation with respect to the provision of public services.

The report also provides the dynamics of the decentralization process. Research findings point to a weak role of the local government in every direction that shows the level of decentralization, including legislation, exercise of powers, the level of independence in decision making, the local government structure, public service – local government involvement in the infrastructure development process and making respective decisions.

‘Public Opinion on the Local Government in Georgia’, a report on a sociological research, is a second document published as part of the same report.   The document aims to show the public stance on local governments and compare it to 2006-2007 data.

“We hope that this research and analysis will show us whether the population thinks the local government is an important institution or not.  Is the public interested in issues related to the operation of the institutions? Are they aware about the activities of the local government? Whether they trust the representatives elected at the local level and whether they are satisfied with the quality of their work.  It is also important to be aware of the type of communication between the local population and citizens  and the level of citizen involvement in local public activities  “, said Tiniko Bolkvadze, the project coordinator.

As part of the study 1500 respondents were surveyed nationwide. The document compares the local indicators with international ones.  More specifically, several outcomes are considered as compared with the outcomes of the research conducted in Poland. Paweł Swianiewicz of the Department of Local Development and Policy, University of Warsaw, Poland, says that the decentralization reform of Poland is the model decentralization reform among the Eastern, Central European and former Soviet Union states and this is an interesting point of comparison with the current situation in Georgia”. In some cases, some comparisons are made with neighboring countries – Armenia and Azerbaijan – as well.

The following experts took part in preparing the report:

David Zardiashvili, Temur Tordinava, Revaz Kakulia, Otar Kikvadze, Irakli Kobakhidze, Otar Konjaria, David Losaberidze, Shota Murghulia, David Narmania, Alexandre Svanishvili, Eka Siradze, Gia Toklikishvili, Mikheil Dzagania, Tamar Khidasheli, Vakhtang Khmaladze.

Apart from the above mentioned authors,  Paweł Swianiewicz of the Department of Local Development and Policy, University of Warsaw, also took part in the sociological research.

Please, see the full versions of the reports:

The Annual Report on Local Democracy Development in Georgia 
Public Opinion on the Local Government in Georgia


Articles related to the topic (availabiel in Georgian):

Centralization instead of Decentralization – The Liberty Radio website, 7 December, 2011;

The Importance of the Local Government for the Population – Netgazeti, an internet publication, 7 December, 2011, the author: Oto Dalakishvili.