Constitutional Commission confirms its final version
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, July 20
The proposed new constitutional draft was confirmed by the State Constitutional Commission on July 19. The vote was preceded by a discussion of the proposed changes attended by analysts as well as Commission members. The model establishes a mixed system of governance.
“The Commission has managed to agree on basic issues. We have taken into account the recommendations of the Berlin Conference, at which foreign analysts made remarks and recommendations about the new draft Constitution. The aim of the project is to create a model which balances the functions of Parliament, President and Cabinet. Everything will be decided by the ordinary voter, who elects the Parliament, and the majority in Parliament will elect the President, who is the executive authority. This mixed system combines elements of Presidential and Parliamentary governance, but with a bias towards the Parliamentary system,” Chair of the Constitutional Commission Avtandil Demetrashvili stated.
MP Pavle Kublashvili stated, "In the new constitutional model the rights of Parliament increase, which is very important. The three main institutions, Parliament, the President and the Cabinet, are given the means to control one another and none of these institutions will be able to exceed their authority. Local authorities will be independent of the central Government and will be able to make decisions independently,” Kublashvili said.
While the authorities are very optimistic about the constitutional changes a number of opposition parties have released a joint statement protesting against the haste with which the new constitution is being adopted. "The Government is trying to adopt the new Constitution very quickly: the bill will be presented to Parliament at the end of July, a month will be given for formal public discussion of it in August and the one party Parliament will adopt it in September. In every democratic country the constitution is adopted with the agreement of all sectors of society and confirmed by a multiparty Parliament elected through democratic elections,” say the opposition parties. "The President and his team are trying to adopt the Constitution which suits them and extend their terms, though of course this will not be a guarantee of our country’s advancement and democratic development,” the statement says. "In future constitutional changes will be carried out by a Parliament elected in a fair electoral environment based on democratic principles. We are ready to encourage this process,” the document signed by the New Rights, National Forum, Democratic Movement-United Georgia, Conservative Party, Industry Will Save Georgia, Republican Party, Way of Georgia, Christian-Democratic Movement, Our Georgia-Free Democrats and People’s Party says.
If the amendments to the Constitution are confirmed the Labour Party will start holding large scale street rallies. "The Constitutional Commission plans to speed up the adoption of the new version of the Constitution, which will allow Saakashvili to remain the autocratic head of the government from the position of Prime Minister. If this Constitution is adopted the only way to hinder the continuation of Saakashvili`s rule will be to hold demonstrations. The right to hold demonstrations is granted to any person in any democratic country. Trust me, the leader of these protests will be the Labour Party. As for the members of the Constitutional Commission, they are a group of hired lackeys and future generations should know their names," Kakha Dzagania from the Labour Party has said.
Analyst Gia Nodia has said that, "This new constitutional model resolves the main problem we have. After the adoption of this model the President will not have as many functions and as much power as he has now,” Nodia said. Analyst Giorgi Khutsishvili has told The Messenger, "We made some comments concerning some articles of the draft, but at the present moment I do not know whether these have been considered or not. I think that the model retains some hidden levers which will enable the President to put some kind of pressure on Parliament,” Khutishvili said.
The draft will now be presented to the President of Georgia and following his agreement it will be discussed in Parliament and confirmed. Before Parliamentary discussions start the project will be presented to the public so Georgian citizens can express their opinions on it.