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Parliament will stay in Tbilisi

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, January 24
Member of the parliamentary opposition Alliance of Patriots Ada Marshania stated the Constitutional Commission agreed on returning Parliament from Kutaisi to Tbilisi.

Marshania made the statement in the wake of the January 22 meeting of the Constructional Commission that must provide draft constitutional amendments before April 30 this year.

Marshania, who represents the 6-member party in the 150-seat legislative body, stressed that no-one was against the change. Parliament sessions were not held in the capital city since a new Parliament building had been built in Kutaisi under the United National Movement leadership.

However, Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze stated the location of Parliament was not discussed at the meeting.

He claims he did not hear Marshania's comments on the issue.

The 73-member Commission - composed of politicians, experts, civil society representatives and court authorities - is also due to discuss whether a clause will be added to the Constitution which explicitly states the country’s European and NATO aspirations.

Georgian Dream representative Giorgi Volski claims Georgia’s foreign course is clear and there is no need for the Constitution to directly name the destination it hopes to go in and organisations it aspires to join.

Parliamentary opposition parties, the United National Movement and European Georgia, are supporting mentioning of the country’s foreign orientation in Georgia’s Constitution.

Meanwhile, the Alliance of Patriots says such notes “restrict the state interests”, and the country’s main law must not name the concrete organisations the country is striving towards.

The Georgian Parliament Building in Kutaisi was the home of the Parliament of Georgia since its inauguration on May 26 2012, instead of the Parliament building in Tbilisi.

The government, during the building's construction, promoted it as a symbol of Georgia's bright, democratic future.

Its location in Kutaisi was explained as a boost for the regional economy there, as well as a way to knit the country closer together.

Critics claim that the building is a waste of money, and that having Parliament in Kutaisi, while the rest of the government remains in Tbilisi, is inefficient.