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New initiative of the Parliament Chair

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, August 15
Georgia’s Parliament Chairperson, David Usupashvili, has stated he is initiating a constitutional amendment that will declare that 'Georgia must strive' to become a member of various Euro-Atlantic organisations.

Usupashvili’s initiative came after the statements of certain people and opposition leaders, the head of the non-parliamentary opposition Democratic Movement-United Georgi,a Nino Burjanadze, among them, that Georgia must not be a member of any international block or alliance.

The group have stated they were going to collect signatures in order to achieve a constitutional amendment over a ban on such memberships for Georgia. They would need at least 200,000 signatures for the legislative body to vote for such an amendment.

Usupashvili stressed he couldn’t be passive in the situation when people “speculated” on “state-important” issues fundamental for Georgia’s interests.

“That is why I initiated this change, which is essential for Georgia’s security, safety and future development,” Usupashvili said.

“In the preamble of the Constitution of Georgia, which says what is the wish of the Georgian people, I initiate adding 'To find a full value place in the security and cooperation Euro-Atlantic system of democratic nations',” Usupashvili stated.

Usupashvili appealed to lawmakers to sign his petition, which required at least 76 votes out of the 150-seat legislative body to become a legislative initiative.

If the petition was registered as an initiative, it requires at least 100 votes in Parliament to be included in the Constitution.

About a month ago, the Parliament of Georgia adopted a resolution supporting Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.

Now, several political parties in Parliament say that Usupashvili’s appeal could be a part of his party's pre-election campaign.

Usupashvili’s party, the Republicans, is participating alone in this year's October 8 Parliamentary elections, as the current ruling Georgian Dream coalition - which defeated the nine- year rule of the previous United National Movement Government in 2012 – is scheduled to split.

From the coalition, the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia Party and the Conservatives agreed to cooperate, while the National Forum, Republicans and Industrialists said they would run alone.

The People’sPparty, which also was in the coalition, left in 2013; the step was followed by the Free Democrats in 2014.

A member of the ruling party, Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia, Gedevan Popkhadze, said the Parliament Speaker’s initiative was undoubtedly a part of his party's pre-election campaigning, but did not specify whether to vote for the appeal or not.

Member of the opposition United National Movement Sergi Kapanadze said the appeal was previously made by his party and was not supported by the Republican. He also assessed the appeal as a part of the Republican's election campaigning.

The Free Democrats and the National Forum stated they have always supported Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration.