Administrative Resource – Up to 14 Million GEL in Pre-Election Period in Adjara
Does the Supreme Council of Adjara use administrative resources for electoral purposes and are the changes in Adjara budget related to them?
The question concerns GEL 13,400,000 which will be used for infrastructure and social programs under the decision of Adjara Supreme Council.
According to the explanatory note of budget changes made on 24th of July, this decision does not violate election code. However, election code regulations are precisely violated. Besides, budget distribution is in contradiction to the recommendations of OSCE and Venice Commission.
What changes have been made to the budget of Adjara?
Changes for Autonomous Republic of Adjara 2013 budget were approved by 11 voters on 24th July special plenary session.
According to the draft law the budget will be increased by GEL 14,722,000 from which GEL 13,554,400 is intended for infrastructure and social projects. In particular, Fund of Regional Projects in Georgia will disburse GEL 5 million to the Directorate of Environment and Natural Resources of Adjara for Adlia shore-protecting structure and 8 million for the first stage of Goderdzi pass ski resort construction.
Changes were also made in public health service programs – GEL 555,400 freed as a result of commencement of the second stage of the universal insurance program, will be used for medical help in special cases and psychosomatic rehabilitation of children.
Why was the law violated?
Adjara Autonomous Republic supreme council violated Election Code article 49th according to which, from the day of announcement of the Election Day until summarizing the election results, implementation of such projects which have not been previously envisaged in the state/local budgets, also increase of those budgetary programs, which were envisaged in the budget before the elections, initiation of ad hoc transfers or increase of planned transfers in the local budget is prohibited.
Text of explanatory note is also wrongly stating that the changes do not violate international legal standards.
On the contrary, they are not compatible because of following circumstances: on 19th December 2011 Venice Commission positively evaluated 3rd clause of 49th article of the Election Code. Besides, OSCE Office of Democratic Institutions and Human rights interim report of parliamentary elections appealed to the state that during the election period state institutions should avoid implementing additional social programs.
While discussing the draft law, the chairman of commission of budgetary and economic issues denied the violation of election code claiming that there is no record in the law about the budget of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara and the code only regulates state and local budgets, thus, these restrictions do not affect the case. The chairman of supreme council also agreed with this statement.
However, based on budgetary unity principle, separation of Budget of Autonomous Republic of Adjara from central and local budgets is unacceptable and against requirements of the law. Central, autonomous and local governments guide with common base principle together with united budgetary classification, registration system and financial control principles.
Discussion of the budget without considering the 3rd clause of 49th article of the Election Code by the Supreme Council is against whole pursuit of the Code itself, and the main essence of the clause, it comes into contradiction with recommendations of OSCE and Venice Commission, and is aimed to justify the misuse of administrative resources by the state for electoral purposes.
We want to distinctly acknowledge that we welcome infrastructure and social programs in local or state government budgets and their implementation but directing them to electoral purposes is absolutely unacceptable.