The messenger logo

Improvements needed in Constitutional draft

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, May 25
Thomas Marcert, the Secretary of the Venice Commission, has stated that a draft of changes in Georgia’s Constitution is generally good, but some improvements are needed regarding some issues.

Marcert made his remarks in Berlin where the amended Constitution is being discussed with foreign experts.

“We think that the draft document is a crucial step forward. It would be good to find a compromise with regards to some issues, which will lead to a general consensus,” said Marcert.

“We discussed the current constitutional reform and urged the government to take into account a variety of considerations, including the opinions of the Venice Commission,” the US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, Bridget Brink, said at the Georgia-US Strategic Partnership Charter Commission meeting.

Brink emphasized that the US supports Georgia's decision to define its future itself and implement reforms that will make the country successful.

“There may be some issues on which we can get recommendations from the Venice Commission and these recommendations will be taken into consideration,” the Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, Irakli Kobakhidze, told journalists after the conclusion of the conference on the draft constitutional law in Berlin.

He said that the two-day conference was consistent with the expectations of the Georgian side, which guarantees that the document will be “highly evaluated”.

Kobakhidze stressed the amendments in the Constitution are entirely in line with fundamental legal principles.

Draft constitutional amendments of Georgia were discussed in Berlin on 22-23 May. The conference was supported by the German International Cooperation Society (GIZ).

Georgia’s opposition, NGOs and the Presidential Administration have several remarks over the amendments.

They disapprove of maintaining the 5% election threshold, which is defined in the new amendments.

They also have remarks regarding the new rule of distributing mandates, according to which undistributed mandates will go to the political party which receives the most votes.

The third sector also disapproves of the prohibition on forming election blocs.

The Presidential Administration criticizes the reduction of the President’s functions, as well as the issue regarding indirect election of the President and abolition of the National Security Council and the creation of a National Defence Council instead.

The opposition believes the amendments aim at giving even more power to the ruling GD party, which has a constitutional majority in the 150 member parliament with its 116 MPs.