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New constitutional commission to be established

By Messenger Staff
Monday, October 7
On October 4th, the Georgian Parliament unanimously supported the idea of establishing a state commission responsible for carrying out constitutional reform. Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili will head the commission. The term of the commissionís activities will last until September 1st, 2014. Usupashvili will have to submit the names of the members of the commission to the parliament, as well as define the regulations of its activities and the adoption of its decisions in one month's time.

The Georgian Dream coalition announced that apart from certain constitutional changes, broad constitutional reform should be carried out to prepare the new constitution. So to fulfill all these changes, the chairman of the commission should select the members of the commission, create a draft of the structure of the commission and its duties, and establish the procedures for discussing and adopting the issues. He should also ensure the involvement of public and NGOs in the discussions over the proposed constitutional changes.

The creation of the commission is a very serious issue itself and certain conditions must be fulfilled. Representatives of the parliamentary factions should also be included in the commission. It should include representatives of non-parliamentary political entities, including those who did not qualify for the presidential elections, but achieved more than 3% of voter support.

A similar commission was established in June of 2009. It prepared the new model of the state constitution which was later adopted in October, 2010. These amendments to the constitution will come into force after a new president is elected at the end of the month. The amendments were targeted at decreasing the role of the president and increasing the power and role of the prime minister.

Representatives of the ruling coalition claim that the new constitutional reforms aim at creating a more balanced relationship between the legislative and executive bodies.

However, the major issue is what political system will the country adopt? There is no consensus in the Georgian Dream coalition in this regard. Some coalition members support the idea of establishing a parliamentary republic, whereas others think the presidential institute should be strengthened.

Once the amendments are ready for the constitution, they might face obstacles at the parliamentary sessions before final adoption. This is because after the new president is elected on October 27, the constitution will automatically receive the new regulations according to which the amendments in the constitution should be adopted with the support of ? of MPs. Today, this could take place with the support of 2/3.

Currently, neither of the parties possesses the constitutional majority in the parliament. Maybe that deadlock situation will create the necessity for holding snap parliamentary elections.