Constitutional changes that restrict the president's power were confirmed with its third and final reading at the parliament on March 25. With 114 votes and no votes against, the legislative body made a unanimous decision.
Constitutional changes approved
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 26
Based on the amendment, in the case of the cabinet’s resignation or if it is dissolved by the president, the latter will have no right to appoint a new government without parliament’s approval. Additionally, the sitting government will have the right to continue carrying out its duties before the new cabinet is confirmed by the parliament.
The amendment includes a note that forbids the president to dissolve the parliament within a period of six months before the presidential elections. The new formulation of the clause says that the president will have no right to dissolve the parliament in the period from May 1 until the inauguration of a new president.
“I congratulate all of Georgia today. The parliament will send the changes to the president for confirmation. As soon as the president signs it, discussions will be held concerning the date of the president’s annual speech to the legislative body,” parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili said.
After the agreement on the constitutional changes the majority and minority will have to discuss another problematic issue– the draft on courts.
President of Georgia states that he is ready to support the constitutional changes. However, Saakashvili is against confirming the draft on courts as it is represented now.
“If the present version of the draft of the courts is confirmed, we will have to bid farewell to our European course,” Saakashvili stated, stressing that the majority and minority should hold discussions in the issue.
“If there is a need, me and the Prime Minister might also be involved in the discussions,” Saakashvili admitted.
Parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili stated that the consultations on the draft between the majority and minority will take place until the draft is presented to the parliament for confirmation.
Usupashvili emphasized that the main issue of the consultations will be the election of 6 members for the Supreme Council of Justice.
“The Law on Courts should be adopted as soon as possible. However, with the participation of large political spectrum and through consensus,” Usupashvili said.
According to Dr. of law Joni Khetsuriani, the government made the right decision when it agreed on the procedural demands of the UNM, instead of supporting the constitutional changes.
“Now, when the government does not have a fear that the president might make some unpredictable steps, it will act more effectively. After the agreement on the constitutional changes, cohabitation will go deeper and open confrontation between the political opponents will reduce,” Khetsuriani stated.