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Autumn Parliamentary session begins

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, September 8
The autumn session of the Parliament of Georgia opened with the bureau sitting on September 7. On the first day of the session the MPs set out the agenda of issues they would discuss during the working week among which the draft Constitution is one of the most burning issues. Public discussions of the document have now ended and the opinions about the legislative package will be presented to the parliamentary committees and plenary sittings before its final adoption.

Davit Bakradze, the Speaker of Parliament said the non-parliamentary opposition will also have an opportunity to participate in the discussions of the changes to the state constitution. “There have been signals from several opposition parties expressing their readiness for a meeting with the Government of Georgia,” Bakradze said at the bureau sitting without specifying the parties interested in cooperation. Meetings had been arranged for mid-August but somehow they failed. The term of authority of the State Constitutional Commission to hold public discussions expired on August 21 but the Commission is continuing to hold meetings and discussions on the issue with the public.

“Discussions about changes within the state constitution, the tax code and the election system…are the priority issues which will define the future of our statehood by achieving success in its economical and political development,” explained Akaki Minashvili, the Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee of Parliament. “During the last few months there have been lots of meetings with people in different towns and regions where changes to the state constitutional draft have been discussed. We are finishing the public debates and discussions on the issue will now move to Parliament,” the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Legal Issues Pavle Kublashvili told the media.

The parliamentary opposition has also been preparing for the autumn Session. Jondi Bagaturia, the leader of the Georgian Troup said he would talk on a variety of issues at the Parliament session. Stressing that unemployment is the most important problem for the Georgian citizens; the MP said he would present his for employing people in well-paid jobs without specifying his ideas to the media.

“Negotiating with the Government of Georgia is plays an important role for improving the electoral environment in our country. The better the political system, the more transparent the elections should be in a country…Discussions on the State Budget issues initiated by the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) have been fruitful as the Government provided school children from the socially vulnerable families with the necessary books for their lessons. It was our initiative and we will continue to talk about similar issues during the session,” Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of CDM stated. The format for improving the election environment will start as soon as it is adopted by the Parliament of Georgia. Giorgi Targamadze reminded his colleagues about the promises made for changing the election environment in Georgia. “Work on the changes within the Election Code will begin just after the international organisations and parties agree on a working programme,” Bakradze confirmed.

The new Tax Code will be among the issues discussed by MPs. The project aimed at creating a better economical environment along with the Act of Freedom aimed at establishing a liberal economy, as well as the Governmental report “United Georgia without Poverty” will all be considered by the Georgian MPs during their working week. “There will be lots of questions on the different issues within the society which the Government of Georgia will answer briefly through the annual report. Presenting not only the new rules but highlighting the successful achievements during the previous working year, Prime Minister Nika Gilauri will define the strategies and plans for the coming year which will be interesting for the population,” Gia Khuroshvili, Parliamentary Secretary of the Government said before the sitting.

Analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze spoke of the differences within the ideas of the opposition and the Government and the difficulties of cooperation between the sides. “The Opposition doesn’t trust the Government, which in return simply smiles energetically. This means that they are not ready to consider the opposition's remarks which were proved in various ways during the public discussions of the changes to the State Constitution. So I don't think there'll be any negotiations between the authorities and the opposition and the opposition won’t be at all optimistic,” Sakvarelidze told us.

“Two major issues remain unsolved in Georgia – these are unemployment and high prices. The Government of Georgia should be responsible for developing the fiscal or any other economical mechanisms so the people can have the jobs that enable them to afford the products for their families,” he added.

The autumn session, which according to the State Constitution opens every first Tuesday of September, ends on the last Friday in December. The Parliament of Georgia will continue working in this format with the Plenary Sitting held on September 14.