First parliamentary appearance of the president
By Messenger Staff
Monday, February 24
President Giorgi Marvelashvili gave his first presidential address on February 21 followed by the debates in parliament.
UNM members criticized the president’s speech because it lacked details. The Georgian Dream administration members however, praised the president’s speech because of its highlights.
In his 47-minute speech, the president spoke for around five minutes about the president’s role in the framework of the current state constitution, which entered into force after his inauguration in November 2013.
The amendment considerably diminished the president’s rights and powers. Margvelashvili stated that these conditions determine the size, style and the essence of his appearance before the parliament.
This issue together with the new demands of the president was in fact the main intrigue of Mrgvelashvili’s appearance. Otherwise, there was not much to report to the parliament because only three months have passed since his election.
The president’s new role determined Margvelashvili’s speech. However, as most political analysts suggest, the president has managed to touch on all the important issues in the range of his responsibilities. He also provided his ideas in solving the key problems for the country.
Some analysts even suggested that under the current circumstances, the president should not have appeared in front of the parliament at all, because according to the new amendments, the president is not the head of the executive body anymore. He does not appoint the government and therefore, he is not responsible for the execution of the government’s responsibilities.
The debates following the president’s appearance were sometimes confusing. For instance, the government members did not attend the president’s speech in the parliament.
According to the United National Movement MP, Goka Gabashvili, this was the expression of the cabinet of ministers towards the president. However, if the government would have come to the legislative body to attend the president’s address, this might have been criticized anyway, with the argument “why did the government attend the president’s appearance if he is not the head of the executive body?”
So, in any case, the opposition was prepared to criticize whatever position President Margvelashvili laid-out.
The president nonetheless appeared in front of the parliament as an ordinary human being- not as a charismatic and worshiped leader of the nation- but as a person who was elected as president.
Margvelashvili’s speech was analytical, professional, and not a PR show, as his predecessor Mikheil Saakashvili used to practice.
The Parliamentary Chairperson, Davit Usupashvili, made very important remarks. He highlighted that from now on, Georgia has a president “whom the country is not ashamed of, a president we are not afraid of, and a president whom we are not in love with. He is a president we can rely on.”
Usupashvili also mentioned that the president should unite “all of us” and “this is where we should rely on our president.” He also mentioned that the president should represent the unification of the nation instead of being the party in the competition of different political forces.
It looks like Georgia is striving to release itself from the tribal system of governance of the past where charismatic leaders used to govern over the people and the masses worshiped their leaders rather than expressing their respect and evaluate the president’s steps using common sense.