At the Origins of the Development of the Code of Parliamentary Ethics: Experience of the Constituent Assembly of Georgia (1919–1921)

dc.contributor.authorZedginidze, Natia
dc.description.abstractIn a modern democratic state, a moral understanding of legislation is essential to establish a fair environment. One of the most important ways to ensure this is professional codes of ethics. Code of ethics helps to increase the sense of responsibility of officials and politicians at all levels of government. One of the most important ethical codes governing the field of politics is the Code of Ethics for Parliamentary Conduct. The Constituent Assembly (1919–1921) was the first democratically elected legislature in the history of Georgia. It is true that documents of ethical rules of conduct were not developed separately at that time, but in the legal acts adopted by the Constituent Assembly we meet moral-ethical provisions that are characteristic of modern codes of ethics. It should also be noted that in some cases it is difficult to find a dividing line between legal and ethical norms, as it is impossible to ensure justice without considering ethical principles in law. The report discusses the issues of political ethics based on the stenographic reports of the Constituent Assembly (1919–1921), the legal acts of that time, and the analysis of the press. On November 22, 1918, the National Council of Georgia and the Government of the Republic of Georgia approved the electoral regulations of the Constituent Assembly, which had to ensure democratic, fair and free elections. The Electoral Statute of the Constituent Assembly established both the necessary norms for free and fair conduct of the election campaign, also the mechanisms of appropriate punishment in case of their infringement - the deprivation of liberty or a fine (Collection of Legal Acts of the Democratic Republic of Georgia 1918–1921). During the election process, it was not allowed to cover election calls, to threaten persons carrying out agitations, dissemination of false information about a candidate, electoral agitation in churches and other places of worship, both in the form of sermons and verbal or written appeals, violence against a person through fraud, intimidation, to obstruct the exercise of the right to vote freely through the abuse of power or the use of economic means against those with the right to vote, to win a voter with promises, by providing personal or property benefits to him/her or his/her family member, etc. (Electoral Statute of the Constituent Assembly). It is noteworthy that the norms set out in the Electoral Regulations or other legal acts of the Constituent Assembly in modern democratic states are mainly regulated by the Code of Ethics. For example, neither the founders of the Democratic Republic of Georgia had stayed out of the spotlight the provisions prohibiting simultaneous holding two or more positions, which help the officer to understand and faithfully fulfill the obligations imposed by the mandate and as soon as the Constituent Assembly began its work, on March 29, 1919, the Bill on the incompatibility of membership in parliament and civil service was discussed. The main basis of the submitted Bill was the protection of dignity of the Constituent Assembly; Moral freedom of legislators and ensuring their conscientious work in legislative, controlling or other activities (Minutes of the Constituent Assembly of Georgia, 2019). The regulations of the Constituent Assembly also regulated the “Rules of Reasoning” and strictly required the “observance of decency”. The orator was obliged not to use insulting and generally derogatory words toward Constituent Assembly when discussing. In case of violation of these conditions, the Chairman would apply the measures specified by the regulations. This approach has helped to promote political culture and discussions on issues of vital importance for the country (Collection of Legal Acts of the Democratic Republic of Georgia 1918– 1921). Thus, the provisions adopted by the Constituent Assembly 100 years ago had uniquely progressive nature, and their analysis allows us to understand the scale of political culture and state thinking of political parties and state figures during the First Democratic Republic. Against this background, to evaluate the current problems of the electoral process and political culture and consider the historical experience to recover the current political process.en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseriesსამეცნიერო კონფერენცია "სივრცე, საზოგადოება, პოლიტიკა";
dc.subjectConstituent Assembly of Georgiaen_US
dc.subjectParliamentary Code of Ethicsen_US
dc.titleAt the Origins of the Development of the Code of Parliamentary Ethics: Experience of the Constituent Assembly of Georgia (1919–1921)en_US
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