Council of Ten (Varkana)

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The Council of Ten (Varkan: საბჭოს ათი, sabchos ati) is the ten-member legislative and executive council which constitutes the government of Varkana and serves as the Varkan collective head of government, also serving as a branch of the Parliament of Varkana.

While the entire council is responsible for leading the Government of Varkana, each councilor heads one of the ten executive departments.

Selection process

Council of Ten members are selected by the ten rectors of the ten Varkan universities, monitored by the DSSK. They are initially selected for a two-year mandate, but are recallable at any time after that period. A rector chooses a councilor candidate based on a series of predetermined and standardized criteria. The selection process is carefully monitored by the University and student bodies to ensure the criteria and neutrality of selection are respected. Candidates are then thoughtfully assessed by the SSD with a complete background investigation. If the investigation is positive, the candidates are then approved and become officially councilors after taking the councilor oath, a constitutionally required oath of office.

Criteria

A councilor must:

  • be a citizen of Varkana;
  • be at least 16 years old;
  • have been a permanent resident in Varkana for at least ten years;
  • be a DPA or MPA postgraduate student in a Varkan university upon selection;
  • have a Grade Point Average of at least 3.0;
  • have filled the Council Application Form;
  • have passed the Psychological Assessment Test;
  • have passed the Management Simulation Tests;
  • U/C

Recall

Councilors are recalled if they under-perform, are expelled from the Council of Ten by the other nine members, or a more capable candidate is found. Any recall must be made under specific guidelines, monitored by the DSSK. There are Council reshuffles every year, when Councilors decide which department they will head based on their skills and knowledge. A rector may assess possible candidates whenever they feel, and provided SSD clearance is passed and a candidate approved, the outgoing councilor is given until the next Council reshuffle as a period of transition to transfer their work on to the new councilor. As of January 2017, Irma Borodin is the only councilor to have initially joined the Council of Ten in January 2012 and never been recalled.

Duties and responsibilities

  • Organizing and administering the Varkan government.
  • Planning and implementing national economic, social development and the national budget.
  • Overseeing, directing and coordinating the departments, ministries, and statutory agencies.
  • Sign and negotiate treaties affecting the domestic infrastructure and society of Varkana.
  • Approve or disapprove the list of ministers presented by the National Assembly.
  • Can introduce bills as its legislative powers.
  • Has referendum power over bills, holding a national referendum on a specific legislation before it is passed by Parliament.
  • May expel a fellow councilor should all the other members agree to.

Secrecy

The meetings of the Council of Ten and the result of the votes taken are not open to the public, and the records remain sealed for 50 years. This has been the subject of some criticism, since the Varkan revolution. In particular, several Varkan political parties argue that this secrecy is contrary to the principle of transparency. However, the Council has always maintained that secrecy is necessary to arrive at consensus and to preserve the collegiality and political independence of the individual Councilors. Regarding bills presented to the Council within its legislative prerogative, only the overall decision of the council is officially published and announced to the rest of Parliament.

Collegiality

Due to the Council of Ten's unique nature, it runs along the principle of collegiality; that is, the Councilors are not supposed to publicly criticize one another, even though they often have very different political opinions. In effect, they are expected to publicly support all decisions of the Council, even against their own personal opinion. In practice, however, according to former councilor and current President Giorgi Latso, Council meetings end with consensus and rarely with secret votes, but rather with vocal votes.

Members of Council

The current members of the Council of Ten are:

Member of Council Joined Council University Commune Function
Bidzina Ananiashvili 1 January 2014 Chiatura University 22px Chiatura Head of the Department of Environment
as of the Council reshuffle of January 2017
Zakharia Arakishvili 1 January 2017 Kaspi University Coat of arms of Kaspi.png Kaspi Head of the Department of Finance
as of the Council reshuffle of January 2017
Nino Dzagania 1 January 2015 Gali University 22px Gali Head of the Department of Culture
as of the Council reshuffle of January 2017
Meliton Balanchivadze 1 January 2014 Sioni University 22px Sioni Head of the Department of Agriculture
as of the Council reshuffle of January 2017
Alexandre Basilaia 1 January 2017 Klow University 22px Klow Head of the Department of Health
as of the Council reshuffle of January 2017
Irma Borodin 1 January 2012 Senaki University 22px Senaki Head of the Department of the Interior
as of the Council reshuffle of January 2017
Otari Gordeli 1 January 2013 Kojori University 22px Kojori Head of the Department of Labor
as of the Council reshuffle of January 2017
Xanthe Kakhidze 1 January 2015 Tsqaltubo University Coat of arms of Tsqaltubo.png Tsqaltubo Head of the Department of Transport
as of the Council reshuffle of January 2017
Gia Kancheli 1 January 2016 Oni University 22px Oni Head of the Department of Education
as of the Council reshuffle of January 2017
Medea Paliashvili 1 January 2013 Zestafoni University 22px Zestafoni Head of the Department of Justice
as of the Council reshuffle of January 2017