IRI’s BEIPTI and the Lithuanian Parliament Host Georgian Delegation

The International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Baltic Eurasia Inter-Parliamentary Institute program and the Seimas, the Lithuanian Parliament, hosted a delegation of five Georgian members of parliament in Vilnius, Lithuania on October 19-22, 2009.  The Georgian parliamentarians learned common legislative procedures, election strategies and governance practices used in Lithuania.

During the visit, the parliamentary systems of Lithuania and Georgia were compared and contrasted.  This exchange addressed several key priorities for the delegation: effective functions of a national legislative system, the role of opposition parties and local governance.  Lithuanian examples of how to create and implement laws as well as discussions regarding the rights of opposition parties and their role working with the ruling party were especially useful for many of the participants and delegates felt that similar strategies could be adapted in Georgia. 

During one of the sessions, Rytis Juozapavicius from the Chief Official Ethics Commission of Lithuania spoke to the delegation about transparency in the Lithuanian public sector and its challenges.  He emphasized the fragile balance between private and public interests in the activities of politicians.  The Georgian delegates were also invited to the Presidential House where Senior Advisor, Audrone Nugaraite, explained the functions of the President’s chancellery and its tasks and relations with Seimas.

The delegates also learned about political campaigning in Lithuania, including campaign finance rules and regulation. Dalia Kutraite, advisor to former President Rolandas Paksas, spoke about successful strategies she had utilized during the presidential campaign.  Darius Gudelis, advisor to former President Adamkus, emphasized the importance of strong communication with the media and public once in office.   The delegation had the chance to visit the headquarters of the Liberals’ Movement of the Republic of Lithuania.

The trip concluded with a visit to the town of Drukininkai to visit the regional bureau of Seimas Foreign Affairs Committee Deputy Chairman, Justinas Karosas.  They also met with Mayor Malinauskas and witnessed regional-level governance and learned how he developed an effective regional administration.  Malinauskas emphasized the importance of a strong partnership with the central government and successful strategies of attracting investments.

The Baltic-Eurasia Inter-Parliamentary Training Institute combines the resources of the United States Government with the parliamentary expertise of both IRI and the Lithuanian Seimas.  Since the conception of the program in October 2006, 134 members of parliament and parliamentary staff members from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have participated with their Seimas colleagues.

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