Georgia: Patriarch Warns that Local Self-Government Could Lead to Country's "Disintegration"
The powerful Georgian Orthodox Church again has revived a fierce debate over whether or not it should act, essentially, as Georgia's fourth branch of government. This time around, Patriarch Ilia II, the Church's highly revered, 80-year-old veteran leader, has weighed into the seemingly secular issue of regional self-governance with a warning that the government’s plans to grant greater autonomy to Georgia’s regions could lead to "the disintegration of Georgia."
The bill on local self-governance aims to give regional towns and communities more decision-making power via the election of local mayors and municipal officials. Today, only the mayor of Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, is elected, while regional heads are appointed by the central government.
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