TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgia has appointed the official who will be in charge of enforcing a set of new tough rules on campaign finance, as the country is preparing to hold parliamentary elections in the fall.
The responsibility to enforce the new rules has been handed to Natia Mogeladze, a lawyer about who little is known. Her formal position is chair of monitoring of the financial activity of political parties within the Chamber of Control (CoC).
There has been at times turbulent debate about the new campaign finance rules, with influential organizations arguing that they are biased in favor of the ruling National Movement party. But when CoC head Levan Bezhashvili officially presented the monitoring service head at a briefing Tuesday, little was done to assuage concerns of partiality as the media’s inquiries about Mrs Mogeladze’s biography were rejected.
What is known is that Mogeladze is a lawyer and has been working as a prosecutor at the Chief Prosecutor’s Office.
The modified law about Political Association of Citizens gives the CoC the responsibility to conduct monitoring of how political parties get their financing and to establish transparency and legality in that area.
Levan Bezhuashvili said at the briefing that information about political parties will be published on the CoC website. Parties will be able to send any kind of question about the political association of citizens to the CoC’s e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to him, the CoC has prepared a report form, which is published on their website. Information about political parties receiving any kind of donations should also be sent to the same e-mail.
The parties have a duty to submit their annual financial declaration to the website by February 1, 2012.
Levan Bezhuashvili states that from today the parties will be sent letters informing them of their obligations to allocate a person who is responsible and a contact person regarding the party’s financial activities. The Chamber of Control will actively consult political parties about the procedures to submit financial reports.
He also said that the parties should send information about receiving any kind of donation within three days of the transfer. During the election campaign, parties must submit a financial report once every three weeks.
The first financial report must be sent by February 1 and must cover the period from November 1, 2011, to January 1, 2012.
The Chamber of Control hopes that there will be a productive cooperation with the political parties which will significantly support the transparency in party political finances and the election process in general.