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The battle for a constitutional majority

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, June 18
The issue of obtaining a constitutional majority in parliament has again become a bone of contention between the Georgian Dream coalition and the opposition United National Movement (UNM). The Georgian Dream envisages the introduction of certain amendments to the state constitution. However, for this it requires a constitutional majority, which can be obtained only when a party achieves two-thirds of the total number of parliamentary seats– for example 100 out of 150.

The crucial amendments concern the concept of the constitutional majority. According to the amendments adopted in 2010, which will come into force after the presidential election in October of this year, the new rule of the constitutional majority will be established.

Instead of two-thirds of the total number of parliamentary seats, according to this amendment the constitutional majority will be achieved only by receiving three-fourths of the total votes (113 votes). This was done deliberately by the UNM so that any amendments to the state constitution would have been almost impossible to make. Even under the current system, the ruling team faces problems in receiving the constitutional majority. Thus, the oppositional UNM would be able to manipulate the situation. If this three-fourths were required to gain a constitutional majority, that would make any amendments next to impossible to achieve. In such a case, the UNM would have then been provided an unprecedented level of influence over the situation regarding parliamentary matters.

As such, the Georgian Dream MPs have initiated an effort to strike down the establishment of the proposed three-fourths regulation for the amendments to the state constitution. Georgian Dream MP, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, thinks that the reforms should not be undermined by blackmailing from 20-30 people. However, the UNM is doing its best to block this initiative. The ruling power has received the maximum 94 votes so far but it requires 100.

Recently, the Georgian Dream has received 3 additional votes from the directly elected independent MPs. However, 3 votes are still missing. This is a crucially important necessity for the Georgian Dream coalition, because in this case it could easily introduce certain constitutional amendments which are badly needed by the state to establish a democratic parliament in the country.

Among many others there is an amendment which would finally clear the fate of Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who, under the current constitution cannot continue his career as a PM from January 2014.