The Georgian Constitution – 90 years old
By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, February 22February 21 is the 90th anniversary of the adoption of the very first Georgian constitution in 1921.
A few months ago the Georgian parliament adopted a new draft of the 1995 constitution with a number of very significant amendments. However observation has shown that this new constitution is not the result of either political or public consensus. On the contrary, it triggered further fierce debates concerning the constitutional issues.
The 1921 constitution had a very short life; in fact it did not work at all because after just a few days Soviet Bolshevik Russian military forces occupied and annexed Georgia including it as part of the Soviet empire. That bloody regime lasted for around 70 years, during which time, Georgia together with other soviet republics lived under four soviet constitutions. The soviet era was when the Georgian people learned (as recipients) the system of lying to the public. All soviet constitutions promoted pseudo constitutionalism, whereby on paper it appears that everything perfect according to democratic standards, while in reality democracy does not function.
The first moves to modify the 1978 Soviet constitution started at the beginning of the 1990s. After declaring its independence on April 9, 1991 intensive work on a new constitution started, with the 1921 constitution being the basis. In reality the constitution of the newly independent Georgia was adopted in 1995; this is the model in use today; although it has undergone a number of serious amendments in 2004 and 2010. The process of amending any constitution in any country is a very subtle action. It should reflect intellectual, moral, professional and other factors because this document should be perfect, to lead the country into the future. It must be free of political, party or clan interests and requires the agreement of the public.
Some analysts commenting on current constitution regretfully acknowledge that the constitutional process in Georgia is unable to avoid political and party interests. In 1995 the ruling political power, the Citizens Union matched the new constitution according to its needs. In 2004, right after the Rose Revolution, the new ruling power adapted the constitution to its interests and requirements introducing appropriate reforms into it. Many analysts have pointed out that the amendments made to the constitution in 2010 also reflect the interests of the ruling power, with the introduced changes favouring prolonging the presence of the current administration in power.
Representatives of different political entities as well as analysts suggest that the current amendments are designed to facilitate President Saakashvili becoming Prime Minister after his presidential term expires. And while neither the President himself however, nor his team has directly admitted this possibility, this is how the situation appears. The major fault of current Georgian constitutionalism is that there is no precondition whatsoever to secure fair, just, unbiased and transparent elections. So far a democratic balance between different branches of power has not been achieved. This is not real democracy at all. There is also a strange reality; the amendments to the constitution have already taken effect however they will only completely come into force in the fall of 2013 when Georgia will have a new president. In 2012 Georgia faces parliamentary elections, with much depending on how these parliamentary elections are held and who will emerge victorious. The current administration is doing its utmost to preserve its domineering role in the country. But who knows what will happen?