Location of Georgian parliament
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 29The parliamentary majority has tried to remove from the Constitution the article regarding the location of parliament. Particularly active is the leader of the Peoples' Party, Koba Davitashvili. The new majority wants to return the parliament to Tbilisi from its present location of Kutaisi. However, this location is written into the constitution. Davitashvili and others have attempted to solve this crisis diplomatically by compromising and hopes to achieve a bipartisan consensus on the matter. Davitashvili thinks that if an agreement can be reached, the ruling party and the opposition could finally agree about the location of the parliament and this would be a good example of mutual cooperation between the parties.
The moving of the parliament to Kutaisi was one of several extravagant initiatives of President Saakashvli. It is fair to say that even some members of his party were not overly enthused about this initiative, although openly they supported it. So the parliament building rests now in Kutaisi after being built hastily. Huge funds were allocated for this project and until recently, the exact figures for the costs were not available. Recently there appeared a document which revealed the fact that more than 2 million GEL was allocated in the reconstruction of the facades of the residential buildings near the parliament. There is yet another obscure fact: No official order is available that identifies the person who gave the command to dismantle the old parliamentary building in Tbilisi.
Daivitashvili recently initiated amendments in the constitution that would effectively take out paragraph 48 from the constitution, which identifies the location of the parliament building. According to Davitashvili, the constitution should not be precisely stipulating where the parliament sessions should be held. According to him, parliament sessions should be able to be held in Telavi, Batumi, Akhaltsikhe or any other place. There is a common sense in this approach and therefore it will become possible for representatives of the minority to agree with the majority and move parliament from Kutaisi back to Tbilisi. Already it looks as though the MPs are not very happy about this move. Too much time is spent on the road traveling back and forth. Officials spend a lot of time and energy and petrol. There are residential problems as well.
Reaching an agreement on this issue that stretches across the partisan divide will be a sign of cooperation between the two parliamentary parties. In the case that the minority does not agree, it will further increase the gap between the two rival political forces.