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Georgia's unstable Constitution

By Messenger Staff
Monday, May 14
Since the Rose Revolution, the Georgian Constitution has undergone frequent amendments, amendments that have transitioned from a necessary part of regime change to a constant presence in legislative life. The constitution is a document which should only be amended in cases of political necessity. But changes have become habit, and are more and more just the administration adjusting the law to suit their needs. Since the United National Movement holds a constitutional majority in Parliament, it is able to make amendments without delays or roadblocks - fifty such changes since they came to power in 2004.

Years have passed and no stable text of the Constitution has been finalized. This is partially because the document was not understood as the supreme law of the country, but rather a tool to be used to certain needs - needs beneficial to the party in power.

Most recently, the benefits being bestowed from constitutional amendments are going to one individual - the much-discussed EU voter participation bill, which if passed will expire in 2014.

No one in the government is hiding that this proposal was made solely for the benefit of Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili. Ivanishvili, of course, did not ask for such an amendment, he merely appealed to the state to restore his citizenship. He was refused, and instead the humiliating process of constitutional violation has begun. Wouldn’t it have been simpler to restore his citizenship? The stubborn Georgian leadership does not want to admit its fault and give Ivanishvili back his citizenship.

Many people have criticized these frequent changes, such as Avtandil Demetrashvili, who chaired the last commission to enact substantial constitutional changes. He believes that regular amendments signifies the instability of the country and may hinder its development. Not to mention sow doubt and frustration among the voting public.

It is unlikely that the current administration will consider the consequences of their actions and give up the practice of amending the Constitution. Elections are approaching and no one knows what kind of extra legislative steps the United National Movement needs to achieve its goals.