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Venice Commission says Georgian Constitution should meet political and social requirements

By Ana Robakidze
Monday, January 20
President of the Venice Commission Gianni Buquicchio and Secretary Thomas Markert visited Georgia on January 16-17 to exchange views with the Georgian authorities on future cooperation and discuss with the Georgian Parliament the cooperation with the State Constitutional Commission (electoral reform in particular).

The delegation met with the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili, Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, Parliamentary Chairperson Davit Usupashvili and various lawmakers.

The main message Venice Commission has for Georgia is the importance of reconciliation and improved legislation. Buquicchio said in Tbilisi that the country needs its politicians to cooperate and this is the only way leading to the further development of Georgia.

The main topics were constitutional changes and the principles of the functioning of the Constitutional Commission. Buquicchio stressed the importance of amending the constitution according the political and social requirements and the final text should be a result of a consensus between the political spectrum and society.

The state administration, setting up a Constitutional Commission, municipal reforms, separation of competences and the balance between the authorities were also discussed at the meeting. Buquicchio expressed his satisfaction that the Constitutional Commission is quite representative and the Venice Commission is also strongly involved in the process of constitutional changes.

After the meeting with Usupashvili, Buquicchio and Markert met with the representatives of the Constitutional Commission and expressed their readiness to help Georgia in carrying out constitutional reform. The meeting was attended by the MPs from the majority and minority, the public defender, non-parliamentary political parties and experts.

Buquicchio promised to dispatch experts to Georgia in February and engage in the activity of the Constitutional Commission.

“The fact that Venice Commission confirms the will to cooperate with Georgia is to be hailed. We all agree that the changes are to be adapted to the Constitution. There are many issues requiring revision, improvement and development though it does not imply that the Constitution will be totally altered. The Commission is ready to start working. We are ready to achieve consensus and thus implement changes,” the Deputy-Chairman, Zurab Abashidze stated after the meeting with the delegation.

The Venice Commission also had a meeting with the Parliamentary inter-faction group, to discuss municipal elections and changes to the Election Code.

“We spoke about forms of cooperation and agreed that the Venice Commission will be informed on every process. We will have expert recommendations on all issues. Besides, the Venice Commission has developed the draft on changes to the Law on Occupied Territories. We will discuss the changes to the Election Code and law on Political Parties Financing model. We need cooperation with the Venice Commission is all these issues,” Usupashvili said.

Buquicchio spoke about Georgia’s progress in recently times. “I have expressed my opinion that the current Constitution is a good basis but some provisions are to be improved. The Parliament established the Constitutional Commission to develop the changes. You need to stand together, and have agreement between the political powers and civil society. With our humble support you will achieve success,” he said, stressing that Georgia does not need the help of the Venice Commission. “We can share experience of other countries with the same path,” he said, once again mentioning that Georgia does not need a new Constitution, and that improving the existing one will be enough.