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Georgian politics is paid off2011-06-30 20:55
Yesterday Courtyard Marriott Hotel (Tbilisi) hosted presentation of a report by Open Society - Georgia foundation and the local branch of Transparency International on sources party funding in the Transcaucasian republic. Despite difficulties to gather information, the authors of the report have come to a unanimous conclusion: like all spheres of country's life, all financial resources are controlled by one political force - Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement.
The authors complain about secrecy of financial flows true for all players in Georgia's political field that made their work more complicated. "It is often difficult and even impossible to identify the sources of the campaign funding that political parties receive. Parties transfer money from their party funds to their campaign funds. Since information about party funds only becomes public at the beginning of the following year, it is impossible to fully monitor campaign funds during the time of elections., - it is stated in the report. At the same time control is mandatory for the amounts are serious.
As the authors of the report find, the amounts usually travel in one direction - to the United National Movement and personally Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. "Large amounts of money are spent on election campaigns in Georgia. In addition to the money spent from the state budget on organizing elections, the resources spent on campaigns increase considerably through the funds raised by parties from resident individuals and legal entities. The ruling party usually stands out in this respect", - the document states.
The scope of disproportion in seen on the example of 2008 presidential election. "Mikheil Saakashvili's campaign fund was 31 times higher than the amount spent by the opposition candidate with the highest revenue - Levan Gachechiladze. During the parliamentary elections held the same year the ruling party's campaign fund was 17.5 times larger than that of the opposition party with the biggest financing (the Georgian Republican Party)" - representatives of the Transparency International and Open Society - Georgia claim.
At a conference dedicated to the report that was held today in Courtyard Marriott these facts were quoted by Zurab Tkemaladze, chair of Industry to Save Georgia opposition party. "Unfortunately, today everyone is aware of monopolization of this fiend and that businesses finance only the ruling party with a rare exception", - the leader of "industrial saviors" said.
"The results of a number of recent elections have shown that financial capacities of the ruling party have been from 7 to 26 times larger than the total funding of all other election contestants", - Nina Hatiskatsi, representative of the Georgian branch of Transparency International stated at the presentation of the report.
The ruling party and president roll in money buying mass media and establishing total control over information in Georgia. This is evident from the opposition's lack of access to television. "Unlike the ruling party, other political subjects are not allowed to order large-scale TV promotion at the time of election campaigns because of the lack of required funds, and the ruling party spends big amounts on advertising", - Transparency International employee remarked.
The fact is confirmed by a recent separate agreement between a number of oppositional parties and the authorities offering one mln lari to these parties for loyalty. Having total control of mass media, Georgian rulers realized that it was not enough and following the events in May they started to buy up political opponents.