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Memorializing the Constitution

By Messenger Staff
Friday, February 24
The first Georgian constitution was adopted on February 21, 1921. Unfortunately, this constitution was never given a chance to work, as days later the Russian Bolshevik armed forces occupied Georgia, annexing it as part of the newly-formed Soviet Union. Yet February 21 remains a symbolic day in Georgia, with representatives of all political movements commemorating this date.

This week, government officials gathered in Tbilisi's youth palace, which once functioned as a government house, and where the original constitution was adopted. The opposition, meanwhile, marked this date by signing a coalition agreement united around Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream movement.

Leader of coalition member the Republican Party, David Usupashvili, mentioned the 1921 constitution in his speech, calling it the original "Georgian dream" for a democratic country. "With our declaration, we awoke a dream of the Georgian people," he said.

New Rights leader, David Gamkrelidze, mentioned quite a different "Georgian dream": a fair transfer of democratic power. He asked President Saakashvili not to repeat Putinís precedent in Georgia, and to officially say that he will not become Georgiaís Prime Minister. Saakashvili has not announced his plans after his term expires, and there is some speculation that he may remain in power as Prime Minister or Parliamentary Speaker, like Russia's former President Vladimir Putin.

Regardless of Saakashvili's next political move, if his party, the United National Movement is returned to power with a majority, then it has the power to further amend Georgia's Constitution. The current Constitution was adopted in 1995, and since then it has been modified multiple times, both with good and bad intent. We can only hope that as politicians memorialize Georgia's lost democracy, they consider the steps necessary to ensure that this one survives.