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Unclear prospects for constitutional changes

By Messenger Staff
Monday, November 4
The Georgian Dream administration decided not to put on the agenda the vote for the two constitutional amendments before the inauguration of the new president. This means that the Georgian Dream coalition cannot accumulate the necessary amount of votes to enjoy a constitutional majority. Two-thirds of the votes would be necessary for that.

The situation is worsening. As soon as the new president is inaugurated, the amendments to the state constitution will automatically be enforced, which stipulates that ? of the total votes (113) are necessary for introducing the changes to the constitution. This will make the introduction of the amendment to the state constitution almost impossible.

These two changes are: removing the parliament building back to the capital Tbilisi and returning the currently existing proportion for the constitutional changes, which is 2/3 of the total votes, instead of ? like it has been envisaged.

However, analysts suggest, that both these amendments will face problems in the parliament. The Georgian parliament consists of 150 members. The coalition has 85 MPs, United National Movement (UNM) 52, and 12 MPs are independent, who presumably, will vote for the Georgian Dream. So, overall, the Georgian Dream can gather 97 votes. One vote belongs to Koba Davitashvili, who was a coalition member but recently withdraw. However, he publicly promised to support the Georgian Dream in the parliament.

So, in this case, the coalition can collect 98 votes. As soon as the new amendments enter into force, the Georgian Dream will need an extra 15 votes. Obviously, the Georgian Dream could not convince two more MPs from the minority to support the proposed changes. However, the parliamentary chairperson, Davit Usupashvili, remains optimistic. Usupashvili promised that from spring 2014, the issue will be settled.

The opinions regarding he transfer of the parliament back to Tbilisi differ. A couple of days ago, parliament employees, and the technical staff organized a small rally in front of the Kutaisi parliamentary building protesting the working conditions there, demanding the return of the parliament to Tbilisi. At the same time, the citizens of Kutaisi also organized protest rallies demanding leaving the building in Kutaisi.

Overall, the idea of moving the parliament to Kutaisi was an adventurous step, which resulted in increased costs for the staff. The employees had to hire flats in Kutaisi. It also caused extra expenses for drivers, who needed more petrol. MP's spend a lot of time traveling from Kutaisi to Tbilisi - sometimes every day. Depreciation of automobiles, problems for the representatives of the diplomatic corps traveling to Kutaisi, as well as different officials also create obstacles.