Parliament Diaspora Initiative
17 May, 2012
Parliament Diaspora Initiative

State Minister Papuna Davitaia came forward with a new initiative to set up a so called Diaspora parliament in the new building of the Georgian Parliament in Kutaisi, the second largest city of the country.



Georgian Diaspora parliament will represent our compatriots living abroad. This parliament will be entrusted with eleborating major directions of Diasporas and Diaspora organizations operating abroad. “This initiative will facilitate highest possible participation of Georgian Diasporas in political, economic, cultural, social or other processes in Georgia

and offer support to the Diasporas in host countries, which would eventually exert positive influence on the welfare of our country,” – explains Paata Davitaia, State Minister in Diaspora Affairs.
The Office of the Minister issued a release which reads that the perceived parliament will act as advisory body and ensure inclusiveness of Diaspora representatives in the life of their homeland, sustain their language and cultural identity and protect their rights. The statement gives an example of similar structures operating in Italy (“General Council of Italians living abroad”), Croatia (“Council of Croatians living beyond borders of the Croatian Republic”), Finland (“Parliament of Finnish compatriots”) and so on.
It turns out that the Georgian Diaspora parliament will be chaired by the Georgian State Minister in Diaspora Affairs and will have its own speaker to be elected by MPs of the Diaspora parliament. Simultaneously, the speaker will become an honorary MP of the Georgian Parliament and conduct sessions of the Diaspora Parliamentary Committee there. Plenary sessions of the Diaspora Parliament will be held in the new building of the Georgian Parliament in Kutaisi once a year (for five days) and consist of 45 members with a four-year mandate. Of these 45 MPs, 15 would be appointed by the Chair of the Diaspora Parliamentary Committee, while the rest would be elected by our countrymen living in respective countries and holding the compatriot status. The basic pre-condition for these countrymen in every country to elect their representatives is at least 1000 countrymen holding the compatriot status per country. Each country would be represented by three members. The Diaspora parliament will have the bureau and committees categorized thematically and territorially (by continents).
The law of Georgia on Countrymen Living Abroad and Diaspora Organizations which entered force in March 2012 introduces the compatriot status and rules of its issuance to our countrymen living abroad.
Those holding the compatriot status would enjoy certain privileges. Namely, they would be able to reside in Georgia for a certain period of time, would be entitled to state-funded secondary and higher education in Georgia, and would be able to represent Georgian national teams in various sports.
Interestingly, the compatriot status for our countrymen abroad is not free to obtain. They would have to pay 150 Lari for it. It would take 80 calendar days for the Civil Register Agency to examine and decide on each case. If a shorter period is preferred then the applicant should pocket out no less then 250 Lari. For easiness, applicants may apply and get the status online.

 

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