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Constitutional Commission gets going

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, June 12
A working group of the Constitutional Commission met yesterday at the National Democratic Institute office to discuss organisational issues and its internal regulations. The working group agreed to accept proposals if there was a “high consensus”. Chairman of the Commission Avtandil Demetrashvili said two-thirds agreement would be sufficient for taking decisions.

Demetrashvili expressed his concern that only 8 parties out of 20 who were eligible were participating in the working group. “The level of legitimacy of the Commission’s work will be low if all the political forces don’t get involved in it,” Demetrashvili said, adding that he hopes that “at some stage of the Commission’s work the paths of some political forces will cross and it will be possible to exchange ideas and proposals.”

Representatives of the Parliamentary opposition have said being part of the Commission does not contradict participating in the rallies. “If part of the opposition thinks the Commission is helping Saakashvili’s regime become stronger, let them start working with the Commission and save the country and the Commission from doing this,” Vice Speaker of Parliament from the National Democratic Party, Levan Vepkhvadze, said.

Pavle Kublashvili from the National Movement hailed the fact that decisions will be taken on the basis of high consensus. Like other members of the working group he also expressed his concerns about the non-Parliamentary opposition’s refusal to participate in it. “I think this shows that when the radical opposition representatives are talking about the need for system changes, they are just using this as a subject of discussion,” Kublashvili said, adding that as soon as the opposition had got the chance to get involved in carrying out these “system changes” they had refused to participate. “So the aim of the radical opposition is not to make changes in the country, but to come into Government,” the ruling party MP stated. Some independent experts have refrained from comment for the time being.

According to the Chairman of the Commission, the draft of the new Constitution should be ready by the end of the year. Avtandil Demetrashvili has stated that the rights of Parliament will increase as a result of the changes and the President will be distanced from the executive branch of government. “The President should not be able to dismiss the Government or several Ministers together. As for the court, I think there is no need to make institutional changes in this field,” Demetrashvili noted at a meeting in Free Opinion House on June 10.