Seizing upon Georgian Dream’s pre-election program to facilitate empowering of parliamentary opposition, the United National Movement (UNM) lawmakers have proposed to give parliamentary minority group majority seats in planned parliamentary ad hoc investigative commission and its chairmanship.
The Georgian Dream, which forms the parliamentary majority, plans to parliamentary commission to look into some of the high-profile cases that may include, among others, death of PM Zurab Zhvania in 2005 and murder of Sandro Girgvliani. MP Tina Khidasheli of the Georgian Dream, who is a Republican Party member, is likely to chair this planned investigative commission.
UNM, formerly a ruling party which now forms parliamentary minority group in the newly elected Parliament, has initiated a proposal, which, if approved, will give UNM majority seats in investigative commission, including its chairperson’s post. Under the existing regulations seats in such commission can be equally split between the parliamentary majority and minority groups; chairperson of the commission has to be elected with majority of votes.
PM Bidzina Ivanishvili-led Georgian Dream coalition has vowed in its pre-election program that it would change the rule of composition of parliamentary investigative commission by giving majority of seats, as well as it chairmanship to parliamentary minority group. This change of rule, however, is not expected in short-term period and UNM’s proposal will most likely be turned down by the parliamentary majority. Georgian Dream lawmakers say that the planned investigative commission will look into alleged wrongdoings by former senior officials, who are either members or allies of UNM and it would be inappropriate if UNM representatives chairs such commission. According to current regulations UNM representative can take deputy chairperson’s seat.
When UNM was the ruling party it turned down at least on three occasions then opposition’s proposal to establish parliamentary investigative commissions.
In February 2007 then ruling party, UNM, rejected a proposal by opposition lawmakers to set up a commission to probe into the murder cases of Sandro Girgvliani and Amiran Robakidze; in December 2009 UNM again voted down the same proposal and in October 2011 the Parliament rejected proposal to probe into May 26, 2011 and November 7, 2007 dispersal of anti-government protest rallies by riot police.
An ad hoc parliamentary commission is set up for a term of maximum 6 months with a purpose “to examine cases of violation of Georgian legislation by state agencies and officials, or to study issues of special state and public importance.” Support of at least 76 lawmakers is required to establish the commission.