lasha tordia

Lasha Tordia, Director of the State Audit Office. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia is creating a temporary commission to monitor the financing of political parties.

The new body will be staffed by people from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and will be based at the State Audit Office.

Its general director, Lasha Tordia, on Tuesday met with NGO representatives and decided to create a commission to oversee party financing ahead of the upcoming local elections in June.

Shortly before the parliamentary election in 2012, when billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili went into politics, Mikheil Saakashvili’s government brought in new restrictions on party financing, and the State Audit Office was instructed to monitor the new rules.

Before that, political parties had to present financial reports to the Central Election Commission annually. In an election year, the deadline would be the month after the election.

During the election campaign ahead of the 2012 parliamentary election, the Saakashvili government used financing monitoring as a lever against its challenger, the Georgian Dream coalition. Members of the coalition were given fines in the amount of tens of millions of lari and many of them were restricted from getting involved in the election campaign.

Some barriers were removed after the change of government, but the State Audit Office is still in charge of monitoring party financing. Now, the office has decided to create a commission to work on party financing issues.

Members of the commission will be representatives of NGOs who will monitor the process of financing political parties. It is still unknown who the NGO members of the commission will be.

Opposition parties say the issue should have been solved after consultations with political parties and reaching a consensus with them.

“I hope this issue will become a subject of discussion and that they won’t announce the decision post factum. I hope this will be a subject of common agreement,” Mamuka Katsidadze from the New Rightists Party told DF Watch.