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Lawyers’ objections to draft constitution

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, October 8
The Georgian Young Lawyers Association (GYLA) presented a resolution on the new constitution on October 7, in which it mentioned a hurried adoption of the new constitution did not allow Georgian citizens to express and protect their views.

“The Constitution reform suggested by the present authority of Georgia cannot achieve the main goals: to consolidate society around the new constitutional reform and launch a system whereby the governmental branches are balanced. The current version does not meet the challenges of the present Georgian reality of government. No genuine guarantees of human rights and property protection are suggested. The role of Parliament, based on the presented proposal is extremely poor, with the Prime Minister as the most powerful leader. The most unacceptable point is that Parliament will be unable to declare a lack of confidence in the government,” the document reads. In addition GYLA considers that the procedure of declaring confidence as very complicated and the changes also pose question marks on the impartiality of the legal system. The organisation recommends the draft constitution is not passed at the third reading as it needs significant refinement.

Stronger statements on the issue were made by lawyer and member of the Public Constitution commission, Lia Mukhashavria, who said the model was dangerous for the country. “Law enforcement structures will be dependent on the Prime Minister with the army at the President’s disposal. Should there be some sort of dispute between the two leaders the country might face the dangerous threats. On the other hand, if the PM and the President manage to agree, it will significantly reduce Parliament’s influence,” Mukhashavria said.

Criticisms of the draft constitution by members of the opposition have been frequent. The majority of the opposition view the draft constitution as being moulded to the authorities’ interests. Meanwhile the authorities’ opinion differs radically from that of NGO or the opposition.

Majority MP, Nugzar Tsiklauri told The Messenger, “This is a really balanced model and that is not only the opinion of the authorities – the project has been approved by the international community also. Recommendations of the Venice Commission are foreseen in the project, as we have been collaborating with them for a rather long time already. The opposition demand that we should wait for the commission resolution is just aimed at artificially disturbing the process.”

Speaking to The Messenger, Analyst Nika Chitadze commented, “The constitution project which is being discussed might work properly; the main thing is that those changes which are underlined in the project should be realised in reality. The main aspects which spark debate at the present moment are the functions of the President and Prime Minister. However there are many significant issues that should also receive attention such as the relationship between local government and the central authority citizens’ rights and so on. In general, it would be better to wait for the Venice Commission’s final recommendations and then hold the third reading; however, I think that the final reading will be held before the recommendations are presented.”