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More constitutional changes in the works

By Messenger Staff
Monday, July 8
The Georgian Dream is getting ready for high-scale constitutional reform. However the introduction of amendments to the constitution requires that the Georgian Dream have a constitutional majority in the parliament. Therefore, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili invited minority parliamentary leader Davit Bakradze and chairman of the parliament Davit Usupashvili to his residence in Ureki.

There are three stages in the process of introducing amendments to the constitution. The first one was already implemented and that was limiting the president’s rights to establish government without parliament’s consent. The second stage is limiting the extensive powers of the PM that would come to force after the new president is elected. Now it becomes evident that President Saakashvili was planning to move into the PM’s chair. Therefore he transferred extensive powers and rights to the position. As a result of these changes, Georgia would have become the “super PM’s” republic. As such, it is urgent that a sequence of amendments is introduced to the constitution that would balance executive powers. These are the Parliament, President and Prime Minister. The amendments touch various aspects including the norms for adopting budgetary issues.

There is one more issue that is also very important. According to the current constitution, which will be implemented after the presidential elections, any kind of constitutional amendments could be passed with three quarters of the parliament members. That makes it almost impossible to introduce any constitutional change. Therefore it is urgently needed to preserve the current situation, when only 2/3 votes are required to pass constitutional amendments. There is an issue with the constitution concerning double citizenship of high ranking officials in Georgia. If this constitutional norm is not adjusted appropriately, Ivanishvili will not be permitted to hold the PM position after January the 1, 2014.

These are the amendments that need to be introduced to the constitution urgently. As for the essential changes or maybe adopting a new constitution, this should be discussed and decided by the special constitutional commission which will be created at the end of the year. In the end, it is hoped to have the type of constitution that is stable and acceptable for everyone and it should not be amended two three times in every year.