Lobbying in Georgia

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
The study is focused on the influence of non-governmental organizations on the public policy in the period of “Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia” governing. According to my judgement, in the conditions established by the new government starting from 2012, NGOs have been out of the capacity to influence the law-making process in the country. My judgement is backed up by the fact, that the leader of the party Bidzina Ivanishvili, according to his own words, has a sceptical attitude towards the third sector. In his speeches, he often attacks NGOs, relevantly, the majority of the Georgian Parliament, giving consideration to his judgements and attitudes, does not adopt the draft laws advanced by NGOs or does not take their remarks and substantiated opinions into account in the process of adoption of laws. The main goal of the study is to determine the level of influence, that the non-governmental organizations, engaged in advocating politics, have on the law-making process. We studied the issue of the adoption/rejection of the draft laws presented by NGOs to the parliament of Georgia in the years 2012-2018. The study covered the extent, to which non-governmental organizations managed to achieve the desired results for the draft laws advanced by them. In this process, studying the Georgian media is important, as it shows the attempts exercised by NGOs toward making this or that issue a subject of awareness and importance in the society. Their messages are directed toward both, mobilizing the public attention and bringing the relevant information to the knowledge of the members of the government. Therefore, the third sector is trying to lobby the issue through the mass media and obtaining the desirable decisions from the policy-makers. The question to be studied is: what is the level of influence, the non- governmental sector has upon the law-creating process in the period of the Georgian Dream government? Baumgartner and Jones' punctuated equilibrium theory and the path- departing change model were used as the theoretic framework. These theories explain the model of policy changes. According to the punctuated equilibrium theory, the long period of policy-making stability may be interrupted by a drastic change in a critical moment. But the players supporting status-quo are stronger than those voting for the policy changing. Although the successful campaign of advocating carried out by the policy course change supporters cause change of the status-quo. To study the Georgian media, we used the Framing’s method, that studies the way journalists separate out political information and get it ready for presentation before the public. They naturally create frames, when they bring news and narratives to our notice, thus creating a public opinion. Through these frame issues are given specific contents by way of underlining, interpretation and deduction. Content analysis was used as the method for this study. Through this method we studied the information published on the web-page of the Georgian parliament, concerning all the draft laws advanced and proposed by non-governmental organizations and the Georgian media reporting political issues.
lobbying, draft law, parliament, NGOs