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It is better to discuss constitution 'indoors rather than on TV'

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 20
Georgia’s President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who criticizes several notes in the draft of the constitutional amendments, has rejected the offer of Parliament Chair Irakli Kobakahidze over holding live debates on TV over the issue.

“It is regrettable that the President refused my offer to discuss constitutional amendments on a live program,” Kobakhidze said.

He stressed that the fact once again demonstrated that the President is not trying to support a consensus and avoids formats that would help people fully understand the essence of the constitutional amendments.

"It should not be difficult for the President, who has been the principal opponent of the constitutional reform for months, to defend his position before the public,” Kobakhidze said.

“We once again offer Margvelashvili to give the public the opportunity to listen to the President and the Chairman of the Parliament about the constitutional amendments," Kobakhidze's added.

The President’s administration called the Parliament Chair’s tone “communist”, and claimed that the President is interested in genuine discussions and not staging shows.

“We are ready to take steps towards consensus, but we hear statements in a communist tone, which cannot stand any criticism,” the President’s Political Secretary Pikria Chikhradze said.

"I have an impression that the parliamentary majority do not fully understand the very high responsibility related to the revision of the constitution. Throughout this time they have not been able to achieve a consensus inside the team, and as a result, we have zero consensus,” she added.

Chikhradze says the President offered the majority a format of discussion without debates with the engagement of any interested party in the presidential palace.

The President dislikes a point in the draft of the constitutional amendments which offers the indirect election of the president, as well as sharing of undistributed votes (the votes received by parties failing to gain seats in parliament which are subsequently awarded to the faction with the highest number of total votes).