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President offers alternative constitutional draft with opposition

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, September 13
President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili offers opposition parties to develop an alternative draft of constitutional changes, taking the current contradictions into account.

Margvelashvili announced this after his meeting with the opposition, just prior to the voting of the constitutional draft initiated by the ruling party with its third and final reading in Parliament.

“We see that a certain document already exists. Take it as a starting point, make notes on the basic paragraphs that were being discussed, write your own version and offer to the government as an outcome. Doing it this way, you will make your partners see that different political forces do things together,” Margvelashvili said.

Opposition political parties are ready to accept the President's offer and develop an alternative draft.

After the meeting with the President, the proposal was accepted by the United National Movement opposition, European Georgia, New Georgia, Democratic Movement and several minor parties.

However, despite the acceptance of the offer, Nika Melia from the United National Movement and Elene Khoshtaria from European Georgia said they think that the ruling team will adopt the constitutional amendments regardless of the opposition’s position; the amendments have already been approved in two readings.

Giorgi Vashadze, a member of the New Georgia party, stated that if the government does not take the offer into consideration they may organize protests.

The President, opposition and NGOs strongly oppose the notes in the constitutional draft which read that the country will move to fully proportional elections from 2024 and not from 2020; the President will no longer be elected by the people after the 2018 presidential elections; there will be no election blocs, and most undistributed votes (the votes received by the parties failing to overcome an established threshold in the elections) may be received by one party without a fair sharing between the parliamentary parties.

The majority says the new draft is a “perfect one” and plans to adopt it this month, after the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe releases its final recommendations.

It is very likely the President’s efforts will prove to be fruitless. If the majority wanted to make changes in the draft, they would have accepted such a change earlier.