The messenger logo

Georgia to draft new constitution

By Messenger Staff
Monday, January 6
At the end of 2013, Georgia’s parliament created a constitutional commission headed by Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili. The commission is assigned to submit a draft of the new constitution by September 2014.

It should be mentioned here that the adoption of this new constitution is problematic, as according to the current constitution three-fourths of the votes are necessary for adopting any constitutional changes. This means that the Georgian Dream administration will need the support of the MPs from the United National Movement (UNM).

Since Georgia regained its independence a bad tradition was established: any new government did not adjust according to the existing state constitution, but rather adjusted the state document to their own needs. Some say that the Georgian constitution of 1995 was completely tailored to President Eduard Shevardnadze’s taste.

The same was done after the Rose Revolution leaders came to power, in particular, President Mikheil Saakashvili. Two major amendments were adopted in the constitution: one in 2004, which reinforced the rights and powers of the president and the second – adopted in 2010, which entered force in 2013.

If the 2004 amendments were designed to increase the powers and rights of the president, those adopted in 2010 were designed to significantly increase the authority of the prime minister. This was a deliberate step, because Saakashvili’s two terms of presidency were expiring in 2013, while he wanted to continue his political career as a Prime Minister. Saakashvili was preparing the PM’s post for himself. However, the Georgian Dream coalition frustrated his plans.

All of these developments have created a messy situation in Georgia.

Analysts accept the fact that the current Georgian constitution requires amendments. Due to the frequent changes, the entity of the state document has been lost. The constitution needs to be comprised of logical paragraphs and not an amalgamation of different paragraphs comforting the president, prime minister and the parliament. This creates controversies, misunderstanding and chaos.

Therefore, nobody would doubt that a new constitution is urgently needed. Experts on constitution have already started working hard to achieve this goal and most probably, the draft will be ready in time. The problem is how this constitution will be adopted by the legislative body. If we remember, the Georgian Dream administration could not collect even 100 votes and now it has to gather 113.

Apart from the constitution, the parliament should urgently adopt a new bill on the local self-governments. The local self-governance elections are supposed to be held by June 2014. So, the Georgian Dream faces multiple challenges and the former UNM administration creates more and more difficulties to the coalition.