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Test vote proposal fails?

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, March 22
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili strongly disagrees with holding a Parliamentary test vote on proposed constitutional changes. The Prime Minister reiterated on March 21st that Georgian Dream is not looking for votes from United National Movement (UNM) members.

On March 19th UNM members stated that they will support the constitutional changes that would restrict presidential power but on condition that a test-vote is held before Parliament votes on the changes for real. The UNM leadership has said a test vote will show how much Georgian Dream is dependent on the opposition to get legislation passed. United National Movement MP Davit Bakradze stated his party is ready “to give the majority as many votes as needed” for the constitutional changes if the test vote is held.

"A test-vote is not right. If UNM members want to vote for the changes they can do so when the real vote comes up. No one is asking for their votes, they can behave as they wish. Parliament should decide this." Ivanishvili said.

United National Movement MP Nugzar Tsiklauri stressed that if Parliament does not approve a test-vote the opposition will not support the changes.

“We want a very simple thing. We just want to demonstrate that our votes are important and to show the people that the opposition still has power.” Tsiklauri stated.

Meanwhile President Mikheil Saakashvili stressed that he does not intend to use his power to dissolve the current government.

“This decision should be made by the Georgian people through elections and I am not going to use my constitutional power and dissolve the government prematurely." Saakashvili stated.

U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland stated that the matter is an internal issue. Norland added that both sides are in agreement and currently both sides are trying to protect their voters' interest.

“I do not expect any serious complications over the issue of the constitutional changes.” Philip Dimitrov, EU Ambassador to Georgia, said.

Analyst Aleksandre Tvalchrelidze claims the UNM is trying to delay the constitutional changes by insisting on a test vote.

“I think that younger members of the UNM will support the constitutional changes as the decision will impact their political futures." Tvalchrelidze said.

The analyst also claims that if the constitutional changes are not approved and the President tries to dissolve the government, the Georgian people will not forgive him.