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Safeguarding the constitution

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, April 30
In 2010 Georgia’s then leading United National Movement (UNM), which exercised the constitutional majority in the parliament, adopted a new model of the state constitution which would grant the Prime Minister almost unlimited powers. This was done deliberately by the UNM to clear the way for the transition of President Mikheil Saakashvili (whose term expired in January 2013), leaving him with unrivaled power as PM once his presidential term expired.

Moreover, to secure this transition, the constitution envisaged that this amendment would become valid only after the 2013 Presidential elections.

There was no doubt that it was done especially for Saakashvili, but no one could have predicted that Bidzina Ivanishvili would appear on the political scene, let alone his victory at the Parliamentary Elections.

So, it looks like the UNM carried out all those changes for someone else. Before the Parliamentary Elections in 2013, the opposition, which consisted of members of the Georgian Dream coalition, criticized these amendments, calling them biased and un-democratic.

The current Georgian Dream coalition does not criticize this version of the state document however and accepts it at face value. According to this model of the constitution, the PM exercises various privileges that exceed those of the president.

Some analysts worry and express concern advising the government to take steps to regulate the extended powers of the PM. Others say that Ivanishvili will not abuse his powers and will be modestly managing the country. But skeptics ask: what if somebody else comes to power with the same appetite for power as Saakashvili? This could create big future problems as it relates to the abuse of power.

There is the opinion within the Georgian political establishment today that advocates on behalf of making reasonable and common-sense amendments to the constitution– amendments that will safeguard Georgia's future and shield the country from any possible abuses of power in the years to come.