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Georgia celebrates 100th anniversary of its constitution

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Monday, February 22
The Independent Republic of Georgia adopted its first constitution on February 21, 1921, four days before the occupation of the country by the Soviet Red Army. The Constitution adopted in 1921, consisting of 17 chapters and 149 articles, was based on the principles of the Act of Independence of Georgia adopted on May 26, 1918. The constitution guaranteed the rights of women, religious and ethnic minorities; the death penalty was abolished.

International partners of the country congratulated Georgia on the anniversary of the constitution. The Ambassador of the EU to Georgia Carl Hartzell noted that the document adopted a century ago underlines Georgia's European values.

According to Hartzell, the first constitution of Georgia firmly placed the country in a broad family of European values. According to the ambassador, it put the principles of democratic governance, respect for human rights, protection of the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, as well as freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and print media, at the forefront.

Hartzell noted that he was very happy to participate in the event dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Constitution of Georgia.

The EU Delegation to Georgia also issued a statement regarding the 100th anniversary of the Constitution. As we read in their statement, in many ways, the constitution was ahead of its time.

“The 1921 Constitution was a remarkable achievement, enshrining a proud legal tradition in support of a progressive and modern Georgian state. Most of all, it demonstrated the high democratic aspirations of the Georgian people,” reads the statement.

The statement once again reaffirmed the EU's commitment to supporting Georgia on its path towards a strong democracy.

The US Embassy to Georgia also issued a statement. According to the US Embassy in Georgia, now more than ever, it is important for the Georgian people to unite around the core values enshrined in the First Constitution. The US Embassy statement also noted that Georgia's first constitution was an important step to integrate Western democracies into society.

The first meeting of the Constitutional Commission of Georgia was held on June 7, 1918. After the election of the Constituent Assembly, in March 1919, a new Constitutional Commission of fifteen members was formed, which took over the materials of the previous commission and continued its work. The composition of the commission members has changed several times. It was first headed by Rajden Arsenidze, and later by Pavle Sakvarelidze.

The full draft of the Constitution was published in May 1920 and distributed to the members of the Constituent Assembly for consideration. Many meetings of the assembly were dedicated to the discussion of the project.

On February 21, 1921, when the Constituent Assembly of Georgia adopted the first constitution of Georgia at a meeting in Tbilisi, the Georgian Armed Forces fought the Russian army on the outskirts of Tbilisi.