TBILISI, DFWatch – One day after being given responsibility for enforcing Georgia’s new tough rules on campaign financing, Natia Mogeladze takes the bull by the horns and asks the country’s new opposition movement to see their finances.
This is the first time a new, controversial law on party financing is being applied outside of party politics, which seems to confirm that the rules were tailor made to stem the progress of a wealthy busniessman.
The law, which came into force four days ago, is controversial, because it widens the impact of rules that normally apply to political parties; so much so that organizations like human rights groups and even individuals could be treated in the same way as political parties.
Mogeladze, who just became head of the monitoring service at the Georgian Chamber of Control, today asked for a financial report from the movement called Georgian Dream. Their report should be presented within ‘reasonable time’. Political parties, however, will have more time to put together their reports, and have a deadline of February 1.
The Chamber of Control was tasked with monitoring the financial activities of political parties following legislative changes adopted at the end of 2011. Before, this was the responsibility of the Central Election Commission.
The changes introduced a more complicated party financing system and stricter rules about financial reporting.
Georgian Dream is not a political party, but what is called a ‘public movement’. It was established in the beginning of December, 2011, by the Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who surprisingly declared his wish to enter political in October. Before that he was mostly known for his charitable work and had a closer relationship to Saakashvili’s government, financing many of its projects.
Many see the new, complicated rules on party financing as connected to Ivanishvili’s decision to enter politics. Under the new rules, the same restrictions that apply to parties also apply to persons directly or indirectly connected to a party.
This is the reason Georgian Dream is is now being asked to submit a financial statement; it is considered close enough enmeshed in politics to require financial monitoring by the Chamber of Control.
Natia Mogeladze states that “‘considering the spirit of the law’, Georgian Dream will be sent a letter, where we will define a reasonable time to inform us of all the information connected with its financial activity.”
The Chamber of Control asks for a report of Georgian Dream’s financial activities coering the period from November 1, 2011 to January 1, 2012.