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Georgian State Commission works on constitutional reform

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Wednesday, March 5
The first session of the constitutional commission was held at the Courtyard Marriot on March 3. The 58-member state commission established in late December is chaired by Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili.

Commission members are parliamentary and non-parliamentary parties, law, public policy and public administration experts, the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of the Abkhazian Autonomous Republic Supreme Council and the Supreme Council of Adjara, the Public Defender, the Minister of Justice, Parliamentary Secretary of the President, the Secretary of the Government and the Chairman of the Georgian Bar Association.

Usupashvili said that constitution must be changed in a way that it is not fitted to any political force. He said that different political powers have access to the discussion over the issue so that the process would be more transparent and fair.

According to the parliamentary chairperson, the constitutional changes should be based on the principles of more freedoms, better balance between branches of government, including the regional governments and decentralization. According to the parliamentary chairperson the Georgian constitution should become more European.

Head of Parliament’s Legal Committee, Vakhtang Khmaladze, said despite the recent changes to the constitution, additional changes still needed to be made.

Khmaladze underlined that members of the commission should discuss the balance between the rights and duties of the Georgian president, government and parliament. Other changes would concern the judicial system.

"The mechanism that is used for the judges’ appointment should become more transparent," Khmaladze stated. He also stressed that future reforms should make the judicial system more independent from the government.

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili gave recommendations about the constitutional changes. “We offer in general to increase the power of the court systems,” Nanuashvili stated.

Leader of the United National Movement (UNM) Davit Bakradze stated that he does not believe there was a need to change the constitution right now. He mentioned that the opposition would monitor the work of the state commission.

"We will look closely at its work and, of course, will take part in it if we see that the proposed changes are positive. However, if the changes are negative, we and other political parties will oppose it, just like it happened with self-governance reform,” Bakradze stressed.

Any constitutional amendment requires support of at least 113 lawmakers in the 150-seat parliament, which means that no constitutional change can be endorsed without the UNM’s support.

The new constitution can go into effect sometime just before the next parliamentary elections in 2016.