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Discussing the Local Self-Government Code at the second hearing on 23 January 2014, the First Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia, Tengiz Shergelashvili, stated:  “The central government holds no power of giving orders to the municipalities. It can only delegate certain authority by providing relevant funding.”

FactCheck

checked the accuracy of the statement.

In order to be better aware of the subject at hand, it is necessary to consult the Law of Georgia on Local Self-Government as well as the versions of the Local Self-Government Code adopted by the Georgian Parliament at the first and second hearings.

Of note is the meaning of a self-governing unit as an independent legal entity having its representative and executive units, certain authority envisaged by the law, property and budget.

The organic Law of Georgia on Local Self-Government enlists the competences of the state authority in respect to local self-governance. The abovementioned liabilities mainly concern the adoption of the law related to local self-governance, making amendments to the law, overseeing its implementation, the separation of power between the state and local self-governmental bodies and adhering to this as well as ensuring the financial independence of a local self-government (Article 4, Paragraph 4). The central government does not interfere with the business of a local self-government and has only a certain amount of control over it.

A self-governing unit has two types of authority:  exclusive and delegated (Article 5, Paragraph 1). The local self-governing unit exercises its exclusive functions independently and at its own responsibility. Only the self-governing unit can make a decision on the following issues:  preparing, reviewing and approving of the budget of the self-governing unit, introducing local taxes and fees, collecting local fees, managing and disposing of property under the ownership of the self-governing unit, issuing permissions for construction; maintaining, constructing and developing roads of local importance, etc. In addition, it should be underlined that a local self-governing unit has the authority to decide on the issues out of the authority of the other state units according to Georgian law and that are permissible for the local self-governing units (Article 16).

As for the delegation of the authorities to the self-governing unit by the state governance bodies, it is allowed upon the basis of legal acts of Georgia as well as agreements that are accompanied by the transfer of commensurate material and financial resources. While exercising the authorities delegated by the state bodies, a self-governing unit and the relevant services are supervised by a state body authorised by the law or a relevant agreement (Article 17).

The initial version of the Local Self-Government Code, as well as the document adopted at the second hearing at the Parliament, present two types of authority of municipalities (local self-governing units):  exclusive and delegated. The exclusive authorities are further explained in the Code (Article 15, Paragraph 2). As for the delegated authority, according to the draft bill, the state governmental bodies can delegate to the local self-governing unit those duties which are expected to be fulfilled more efficiently at the local level.

Furthermore, within certain frameworks defined by the legislation, a municipality can exercise the delegated authority in accordance with the local conditions (Article 16).

Conclusion

The research conducted on the relationships between the central governmental and local self-governing bodies showed that the central government executes only certain legislative control over the local self-governing units in order to maintain the entities within its own liabilities and frameworks envisaged by the law. The local self-governing units are independent in their performance and any external interference or control are inadmissible. The central government (state or autonomous republic) can delegate certain authorities to the local self-governing units. At the same time, the delegation of authority should be accompanied by the transfer of commensurate material and financial resources.

Based upon the abovementioned information we conclude that Tengiz Shergelashvili’s statement: “The central government holds no power of giving orders to the municipalities. It can only delegate certain authority by providing relevant funding,” is TRUE.

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