D E M O C R A C Y   I N D E X

Four opposition MPs may not solve the problem of one-party Parliament
2021-01-10

Currently, only four members of an opposition political party have entered the Parliament of Georgia and participated in parliamentary activities. At the extraordinary session of January 5, 2021, the Parliament recognized the parliamentary authority of the following three members, who were on the election list of the “Alliance of Patriots of Georgia”: David Zilpimiani, Pridon Injia and Gela Mikadze. Another member of the Alliance of Patriots, Avtandil Enukidze, did not relinquish his parliamentary mandate and began to exercise his parliamentary powers.

The entry of only four opposition MPs cannot solve the problem of one-party Parliament. The opposition will not be able to form a faction of four deputies, which will further exclude the possibility of using a range of tools provided by the rules of procedure of the Parliament.

Consequently, if the Parliament grants the request of other members of the opposition to terminate their authority, even in the presence of the four members of the opposition, the 94-member Parliament will still be incapable of carrying out the following constitutional processes:

- Constitutional amendments will not be adopted. Any revision of the Constitution requires the support of at least 113 MPs;

- If the President of Georgia violates the Constitution or the elements of crimes are detected in the President’s actions, the Parliament will not be able to demand to impeach the President. The impeachment of the President requires the support of at least 100 MPs;

- The Parliament will not be able to pass any constitutional law related to the restoration of territorial integrity. Adoption of such a law requires the support of at least 100 MPs.

Since the four MPs may not form an opposition faction, the opposition will not be able to exercise the following powers:

- The opposition will not be represented in the trust group, as members of the trust group are nominated only by factions;

- The opposition will not be able to set up an investigative commission. Initiating the issue of setting up a fact-findingcommission requires the support of 30 MPs, while the commission is set up with the support of 50 members of Parliament. Consequently, four MPs are not sufficient to even raise the issue of setting up an investigative commission by the opposition;

- Parliamentary debates will not be held effectively. The opposition MPs will have only 12 minutes in total for political debates, and the ruling team - 75 minutes;

- The opposition will not be able to summon ministers and other public officials to any plenary sessions by interpellation. Only a faction or a group of at least seven members of a non-faction MPs has the authority to exercise the right to interpellation;

- Public officials will not be summoned to committee sittings. A faction or a majority of the committee members has the authority to request a mandatory attendance of public officials at the session;

- The opposition will not be represented in at least 7 out of 15 committees. Any Member of Parliament is entitled to be a member of no more than 2 committees, and with 4 MPs, the opposition can only be represented in 8 committees;

- The positions of Deputy Chairperson of Parliament and Deputy Chairpersons of Committees will remain vacant. Opposition factions have the right to nominate two Deputy Chairpersons of Parliament, while opposition factions or a group of at least seven members of non-faction MPs have the power to nominate one Deputy Chairperson of the committees;

- The opposition will not be able to nominate candidates for the judiciary of the Constitutional Court, Public Defender and members of the Prosecutorial Council. Only a faction or a group of at least seven members of non-faction MPs is entitled to nominate a candidate for the judiciary of the Constitutional Court, Public Defender and Prosecutorial Council to the Parliament;[1]

- The opposition will not be able to nominate a candidate for the Board of Trustees of the Public Broadcaster. The procedure for electing a member of the Board provides for the participation of factions of the parliamentary opposition. Only factions may have their own quotas for nominating candidates for the Board membership;

- The opposition will not be able to appoint members of the committee that selects the members of the Georgian Pension Agency’s Investment Board. Only factions of the opposition may have the authority to nominate 1 member of the committee;

The Members of Parliament will retain the following powers granted to any individual MP:

- Initiate draft laws and decrees;

- Apply in writing to the executive government and other public officials or bodies;

- Ask questions at the sessions and participate in their discussions;

- With the permission of the Chairperson of the Parliament, enter any penitentiary institution;

- Initiate the issue of thematic inquiry and/or be the thematic speakers with the consent of the committee chairperson.

 

[1] The Chairperson of the Parliament also has the authority to nominate a candidate to be a member of the Constitutional Court.