On Feb. 5, by a third reading, the Parliament of Georgia passed the new draft law on self-governing bodies. Based on the draft law, Akhaltskha is the only city that received the honor of being a self-governing city in Samtskhe-Javakheti. However, for some reason, Akhalkalak was not recognized as a self-governing city.
In the beginning, the parliament was going to pass a law on local self-government, according to which the mayors of cities with more than 15,000 residents would be elected. In this case, Akhalkalak would also become a self-governing city.
The purpose of the legislative reforms was to use the successful experience of democratic countries in the decentralization of cities and regions, which would surely bring a new sweep to the development of regions. But the plan for freedom and democracy in making legislative reforms clashed with the criticism of Patriarch of Georgians Ilya II and made the Parliament afraid of making the reforms in cities and regions inhabited by ethnic minorities.
Ilya II touched upon this issue during his sermon at the temple in Svetistskhoveli where he said the following:
"Our parliament and government are discussing the issue of self-governance. This is a very intricate issue. If the law is passed, we’ll face collapse. We’ll never tolerate that and will do everything possible to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
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