Functions of the Supreme Council of Adjara

“Functions of the Supreme Council of Adjara” was the topic of the public discussion organized by the Heinrich Boell Foundation on April 15, held in the Press Café. The Supreme Council of Adjara is the highest legislative body of the Autonomous Republic that implements control over the government and approves the budget of the Republic. However, part of the society nowadays thinks that the Supreme Council is not fulfilling its functions. During the debates, members of the Supreme Council had to listen to critiques with the background of the harsh debates between the representatives of the media, the non-governmental sector and political parties.

Geno Geladze, the head of the non-governmental organization Democratic Institute, devoted 10 minutes to criticizing the Supreme Council. In 2008, this organization carried out sociological research that summarized the working track of the Supreme Council from 2004 to 2008. The research confirmed the situation that was also articulated by Geno Geladze: the Supreme Council does not have rights, “As attested by the electorate, the Supreme Council is an ineffective body and at the same time does not have the capacity to take decisions. The Council is supposed to be adopting laws, but it is not clear in which field. The Supreme Council itself has not deliberated on the issue of increasing its rights and functions – this already demonstrates that the institution is only an appendage body of the government,” Geladze remarked.  

Participant of the discussion, head of the Jouranlist’s House, Aslan Chanidze, and the head of the Adjara branch of the Young Lawyers Association, Parmen Jalaghonia, commented that the Supreme Council of Adjara is trying to prevent expressing its political position. “We are disputing with the Council on the issues that are not within their prerogative by legislation and therefore, they are not able to decide them. The only thing that the Supreme Council is capable of doing is articulating its political position,” said Jalaghonia. However, as stated by the journalist Irma Zoidze, the electorate has many more demands than that. “Your income is constituted by income taxes paid by the population, so besides the fact that you are elected by the population, you are paid by them as well. For that reason, a huge responsibility is imposed on you,” said Zoidze to the representatives of the Council.

Such comments were heard by several representatives of the Supreme Council of Adjara. These included Niaz Zosidze,  member of the Christian-democratic movement  and the deputy head of the Supreme Council, and Temur Bolkvadze, member of the Nationalist Party  and deputy head of the Legal and Procedural Commission.  Zosidze remarked that “unfortunately, the role and function of the Supreme Council of Adjara falls into decay as all caprices of government are being fulfilled here. At the same time I would like to point out that during this period we have not adopted a law that favors our region.”

Temur Bolkvadze did not agree with the remarks of the discussion participants and his colleagues. He noted that the Supreme Council is conducting legislative activities as well as articulating its political views. “As you know, the activities and powers of the Supreme Council of Adjara are determined by the Constitutional Law of Georgia on the Status of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, and by the Constitution of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara itself. In the recent period, the Council adopted 110 legal acts; among them were 42 legislative acts and 68 regulations. In addition, seven draft laws were initiated and sent to the Georgian Parliament, and six of them are already adopted, while one is currently being discussed at the Parliament.” Furthermore, as Vaja Bolkvadze, head of the Agrarian Commission at the Supreme Council, noted,  the members of the Council are carrying out daily meetings with the electorate.In the 2010 annual report  they mentioned such meetings with approximately 1000 citizens. Besides, as Vaja Bolkvadze mentioned, the Council returned the draft law that referred to arranging greenhouse thrift back to the government.  This was a “clear demonstration that we do not share all of the government’s views,” he said.

In the discussion, it was made public that the location of the Supreme Council of Adjara, in the administrative center of the city, will be changed and the institution will move to small town of Chakvi.