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Parliament not returning to Tbilisi anytime soon

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, December 18
The parliament’s location has once again become a hot issue for the Georgian media. Due to heavy snows in western Georgia, MPs face difficulties in traveling to and from Kutaisi.

This argument is yet another in support of the push to return the parliament to Tbilisi. In order for this to come to fruition, a constitutional amendment needs to receive votes from three-fourths the total number of MPs. At best, the parliament could return to Tbilisi in late spring 2014.

Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili spoke about the difficulties the parliament faces with holding its sessions in Kutaisi due to bad weather. However, he said no session will be missed. The holding of committee sessions in Tbilisi is under discussion, but it is connected with certain technical difficulties, as all the necessary documents and personnel are in Kutaisi.

The idea of moving the parliament to Kutaisi belongs to former President Mikheil Saakashvili. First it was planned to hold parliamentary sessions both in Tbilisi and Kutaisi, but later it was all transferred to Kutaisi. The dismantling of the infrastructure already started in the old parliament building in Tbilisi before the parliamentary elections. This might have been aimed at reducing the chances for returning the parliament to Tbilisi.

From the very beginning, the Georgian Dream promised that it would move the parliament back to Tbilisi. The Georgian Dream started to initiate a project that would achieve this, but the UNM was so against it that the project failed. After the presidential election in October 2013 instead of 100 votes to adopt this decision 113 are now required.

Analysts believe that the chances of the current administration collecting the necessary votes are rather small for the time being. The opposition stubbornly remains at hand. However, the UNM promises an economic boom for Kutaisi, as well as the country’s development in the direction of the Black Sea. So far there are no signs of such moves.

As for the reconstruction of the old parliament in Tbilisi, the state is actively working in this direction. Some rooms should be ready by March of 2014.

It is not yet known what will happen with the parliament in Kutaisi when the legislative body does return to Tbilisi. However, there are several options: one is to give it to some international organizations, or to the Kutaisi city administration. Skeptics believe that parliament will not be moved to Tbilisi for the time being as it is difficult to say the exact date.

The major thing is that the Georgian Dream and UNM managed to achieve a consensus.