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President and opposition draft joint constitutional remarks

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, September 22
President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili has expressed hope that the document drafted by him and the opposition "will push the parliamentary majority to reconsider its very uncompromising position".

The President stressed that the elaborated document was sent to the Georgian Dream majority and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe, which is preparing its final recommendations over the constitutional changes.

"All political parties involved in the process gave up something and a consensus was achieved. We hope that as a society, as a political culture, we should be able to come to a consensus.

“At any rate, the myth that people of different opinions in Georgia can never agree on anything has really been broken. Parties of totally different views have a common position on certain issues,” the President stated.

The President stressed that he and about 20 opposition parties have managed to agree on key issues, which included moving to fully proportional elections from the next parliamentary race in 2020, direct presidential elections, court reforms, empowering Parliament’s supervisory functions and keeping the State Security Service acting under the President.

The Georgian Dream majority says that the President and the opposition parties are speaking with “the language of demand, which disturbs reaching any consensus”.

They also state that the ruling team is waiting for positive recommendations over the existing constitutional draft from the Venice Commission.

An independent MP in Georgia’s Parliament, former Foreign Minister Salome Zourabichvili, has accused the President over his involvement in Parliament’s issues and stated the President has been fully involved in “political games”.

Georgia’s former Defence Minister an ex-member of Republicans Tinatin Khidasheli says that Georgia is very likely to adopt a constitution which will then be changed by the next government.

“The lack of consensus on key issues is a main problem which leads to major problems and disturbs the state’s development,” Khidasheli said.

The head of Transparency International Georgia, Eka Gigauri, stressed the importance of achieving a consensus on controversial constitutional issues and said the President could play his role in finding a way for such a consensus.

The draft of the constitution has already been adopted with two key readings, with only one, technical reading remaining at the end of the month.

As the majority and the opposition failed to agree on controversial issues, including the date of moving to proportional elections, how the president can be elected and others, the President proposed that the opposition parties agree on all the issues they wanted to see in the constitution and send their version to the ruling team and the Venice Commission.

Analysts agree that the majority will ignore the President’s and the opposition’s joint work and will wait for the remarks of the Venice Commission.

The majority plans to vote for the draft on September 29, which will be the final, third voting for the constitutional amendments initiated by the Georgian Dream party.