Georgia: Tbilisi Lawmakers Try to Define Where Politics Ends and Business Begins
For as long as the republican form of government has existed, elected representatives have had to fight the temptation of letting private financial interests influence their political decisions. Georgia is not immune from this tendency.
Public records in Tbilisi show that businesses in which MPs from Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s governing party hold direct or indirect stakes may be benefiting from valuable government contracts. Georgian law bans MPs from holding a controlling stake in a business, but allows relevant shares to be transferred to a relative or an associate during the deputy’s time in office. But given the existence of Georgia’s far-reaching kinship networks, this means, in practical terms, that an MP, even if nominally separated from an enterprise, still has the ability to exert influence over the company’s management.
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