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Beginning of constitutional changes

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, January 10
Two constitutional amendments were initiated in the Georgian parliament. Both of them reflect the current political situation in the country. The first is about the location of the parliament building, the second is about the power the president has to discharge the government against the parliamentís will and appoint a new cabinet of ministers.

These two issues will make it clear whether Georgian Dream members can accumulate a constitutional majority in the parliament and if the United National Movementís parliamentary minority is prepared to make compromises.

The issue concerning the location of the parliament pertains to taking out the paragraph which names Kutaisi as the location of the parliament in the state constitution. This was introduced in the constitution by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and was followed by the dismantling and purported sale the parliament building in the capital Tbilisi. However, the victory of the Georgian Dream coalition in the parliamentary election changed the situation and many MPs are not happy with the location of the parliament in Kutaisi.

So if this clause is changed, parliamentary sessions could be held anywhere in the country and it could thus return to Tbilisi.

During the recent voting ceremony for adopting the Law on Amnesty, the ruling team could accumulate 91 votes. Most probably it will have extra four voters as well. However, constitutional changes need 100 votes. Georgian Dream leaders publicly stated that there is no problem, as some doubts still remain.

There are two options: if the Georgian Dream coalition gathers the desired support, it will mean that it will be exercising a constitutional majority in the parliament and enjoying it like the UNM did during its leadership.

There is another option as well: the oppositional UNM will agree to cooperate and create a mood of cohabitation in the country.

The currently cohabitation process is very subtle. Georgian Dream representatives suspect that President Saakashvili plans to discharge the parliament. This could happen in April, so to prevent such developments the Georgian Dream wants to deprive the president of such rights.

So this is the major intrigue in the current parliament. The Georgian Dream states that it is not afraid of the snap parliamentary elections, expressing its confidence that in the new elections the UNM will receive even less votes. Though it is concerned that the president could appoint his own government and that would complicate the situation in the country. Some analysts even predict a very serious civil confrontation.