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Resume:According to the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament of Georgia, the number of representatives from the opposition in the Temporary Investigative Commission should not be less than half of the total commission members. Therefore, if the opposition MPs refuse to enter the parliament, the Georgian Dream will be unable to form a Temporary Investigative Commission.

Since the opposition’s presence is essential to form the Temporary Investigative Commission, the following scenario can be considered: MPs will leave the Georgian Dream; that is, the Parliamentary Majority, move into the opposition and be represented in the commission in the capacity of independent opposition MPs.

Analysis

The Georgian Dream Executive Secretary, Irakli Kobakhidze,statedthat the Temporary Parliamentary Investigative Commission on the 2020 Parliamentary Election will be established which will recount polling stations and a snap parliamentary election will be held if it confirms at least a 1% bias in favour of the Georgian Dream.

On 9 December 2020 at a briefing, Irakli Kobakhidze stated: “At the very first meeting, the Parliamentary Majority will initiate forming the Temporary Parliamentary Investigative Commission on the 2020 parliamentary election. We will invite every stakeholder, including independent experts, NGOs and international partners to join the Commission’s work.”

European Georgia – Movement for Freedom member, Sergi Kapanadze,respondedto that statement on air on a Tavisupali Sivrtse broadcast that if the opposition does not enter the parliament, the ruling party will not be able to create the investigative commission: “If they create an artificial opposition from within, who would believe that their own commission and that of an artificial opposition inside the parliament would conclude that the election was rigged?”

Of note is that despite Irakli Kobakhidze’s initiative/desire, if the opposition MPs refuse to enter the parliament, the Georgian Dream will not be able to form the Temporary Investigative Commission. According to the Constitution and theRules of Procedureof the Parliament of Georgia, the representation of the opposition; that is, those MPs who are not Parliamentary Majority members, should not be less than half of the total number of Commission members. Therefore, a one-party parliament is devoid of the authority to form the Temporary Investigative Commission.

The Temporary Investigative Commission is created in the parliament with the purpose of exploring the facts of the violation of Georgian legislation by state bodies and public officials, and to react appropriately. The Temporary Investigative Commission is a temporary subject of the parliament’s activities. The Temporary Investigative Commission is accountable to the parliament and has the right to raise the issue before the relevant state oversight body in order to obtain information regarding the issue under question.

In the case of identifying a violation of the legislation of Georgia as a result of learning information relating to the case under question, oversight and examination, the Temporary Investigative Commission has the right to send its conclusions, recommendations and decisions to the relevant body, institution or agency for their response.

What Will the Ruling Party Do if the Opposition Refuses to Enter the Parliament?

Since the composition of the Temporary Investigative Commission is governed by the Constitution of Georgia, the Georgian Dream will be unable to amend the existing rule. To amend the Constitution during one convocation of the parliament, three-quarters of the total number of members of the parliament is needed whilst the ruling party does not have that many MPs.

Since the opposition’s presence is essential to form the Temporary Investigative Commission, the following scenario can be considered: MPs will leave the Georgian Dream; that is, the Parliamentary Majority, move into the opposition and represent the opposition in the commission in this manner. This is less likely, although possible, especially, given the fact that the Georgian Dream will be able to maintain a majority even under this scenario.

Of note is that a one-party parliament (if only the Georgian Dream’s 90 MPs are there) will not be able to adopt such decisions/laws which require 100 of the 113 votes such as constitutional changes, amending the law on agricultural land ownership, etc. (for details, seehere). In addition, apart from the investigative commission, the Council of Ethics will also not be formed since the representation of the Parliamentary Majority in the Council of Ethics cannot exceed half of the total members of the Council of Ethics according to the Rules of Procedure.

Transparency International Georgia suggested a description of what will the parliament be like without the opposition. The organisationsays: “A one-party parliament will not be able to fulfil the role of a representative body and will not be able to work properly and exercise oversight over the government. It will not be possible to fully staff the parliamentary offices and there will be many decisions that the parliament will not be able to make due to the insufficient number of votes.”


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