The messenger logo

President against legal changes

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 26
President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, is against the legal changes concerning the granting of citizenship.

Members of the parliamentary majority claim that the president’s position will be discussed. Meanwhile, the representatives of the opposition United National Movement speak on confrontation between the president and the government.

According to recent changes, the president can retract the citizenship from a person, but his order to give one should be approved by the prime minister and needs his signature.

Margvelahsvili stressed it is clearly defined in the constitution that the president has the “discreet right” to grant citizenship and the decision was not a matter of approval by the prime minister.

"Unfortunately, changes made to the Law on Citizenship in September 2013 offer a very narrow description to the president’s competence to give and retract citizenship,” said a statement issued by the Presidential Administration on March 24.

Margvelashvili also noted this rule contradicted other Georgian legislation and said the prime minister currently signed orders that were in the president’s jurisdiction.

Margvelashvili appealed to parliament to resolve this issue in the upcoming draft-law on Citizenship that was received by parliament in February.

The Parliament Speaker of Georgia, Davit Usupashvili, states that an agreement has been reached about all issues related to the bill on citizenship.

He informed that active consultations were underway in the parliament with regard to the bill. He said the government's parliamentary secretary, the president’s parliamentary secretary and he were participating in the consultations.

"Today we are talking about the new bill on citizenship that was submitted to the parliament on the government's initiative. With regard to the bill, there were very serious, productive and constructive consultations in the parliament,” Usupashvili stated, adding that it was a very positive action that the president and his staff have been actively involved in the parliament’s activities from the very beginning.

Member of the Georgian Dream Zurab Abashidze states that the president’s compliant would be discussed at the legislative body and then a decision would be made.

Coalition MP Viktor Dolidze states that there would be consultations and meetings if necessary and the final decision would be dependent on public interests first of all.

“This is a very normal, democratic process,” Dolidze states.

UNM member Zurab Tchiaberashvili is sure that there is an obvious confrontation between the government and the president. According to him, the former PM and the founder of the coalition Bidzina Ivanishvili no longer likes Margvelashvili, and his personal attitude is reflected in the current government’s actions.

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association shares the president’s attitude, stating that the president’s rights in this regard do not require additional confirmation.