NGOs Welcome the Adoption of Tbilisi Budget
On March 7, Tbilisi Sakrebulo approved with 41 votes Tbilisi budget worth 780 million laris. Prior to the approval, the budget was reviewed for three months amid political confrontation between Sakrebulo and Mayor’s Office.
NGOs urged Sakrebulo and Mayor’s office once more to reach consensus prior to March 11 considering that their failure to adopt the budget would result in premature termination of their powers and the establishment of the mechanisms of direct governance for three months, in the run-up to the self-government elections, which would have clearly had an adverse impact on the pre-election environment.
Therefore, we believe that adoption of Tbilisi budget is a step forward; however, observers from our organizations have reported certain procedural violations during the meeting. In particular, amendments in the final draft were not discussed in details by representatives of either the Mayor’s Office or Sakrebulo. Further, only one member of Sakrebulo had the final version of the budget during voting. Request made to Sakrebulo Chairperson to postpone voting for the following day to enable Sakrebulo members to cast their votes after reading the final draft carefully, was ignored.
The International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and Transparency International-Georgia welcome adoption of Tbilisi budget and remain hopeful that Sakrebulo and the Office of the Mayor will show more responsibility towards the process and will make no such procedural violations.