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Parliament Speaker accuses President

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, April 11
Georgian Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobaklhidze says that the President had consultations with political parties and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and encouraging them to leave the Constitutional Commission, which was set up in December 2016 in order to introduce the constitutional amendments before April 30, 2017.

"We had reliable information that the President had consulted political parties and non-governmental organizations and was encouraging them to leave the Constitutional Commission. It is a pity that this information is turning out to be true,” Kobakhidze said.

The Speaker noted that several entities are going to make such a decision; however, he said it will not hamper the work of the Commission.

“We will by all means fulfill our objective, and in the end we will have a top-quality constitution," Kobakhidze stated.

Parliamentary minority party, the Movement for Freedom-European Georgia, says they had no consultations with the Presidential Administration about leavening the Constitutional Commission.

A member of the party, Giorgi Tugushi, says that their aim was to change the electoral system, and if this demand is not satisfied, they may leave the Commission.

NGO Transparency International-Georgia denies that there had been any consultations with the Presidential Administration concerning leavening the Constitutional Commission.

The Head of the NGO, Eka Gigauri, says they are not going to quit the commission.

“We did not have any such consultations with the President and we have no information if there had been similar any consultations with other NGOs,” Gigauri added.

However, another NGO, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), does not rule out leaving the commission.

The head of the GYLA, Ana Natsvlishvili, says that the draft presented by the ruling party is unacceptable for them.

"The draft includes key issues that need to be revised. The most important issue is the electoral system. Although the majoritarian system will be abolished, other mechanisms are going to be introduced which will put parties in unequal conditions,” she stressed.

Giorgi Abashishvili, head of the Presidential Administration, responded to the statement of the Speaker.

Abashishvili said that over three years, President Margvelashvili has held many consultations over various issues; however, these were open consultations, not conspiracies.

“Recently it has become very common that everything is blamed on the President…I would like to remind everyone that some people can make choices on their own and such people exist in the political parties, NGOs or independent experts,” Abashishvili said.

The State Constitutional Commission consists of 73 members, among them experts and representatives of seven political parties, government agencies and NGOs.

The president’s administration refused to take part in the work of the commission since it was established, saying its format was the same as the previous commissions, which failed to bring any tangible results.