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Khmaladze initiative supported by majority

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 21
The Georgian Dream majority representatives and Parliament Chair Irakli Kobakhidze says they accept the initiative of three-time Parliament member and former representative of the Republican Party, Vakhtang Khmaladze, on the rule of electing the president from 2023. Vakhtang khmaladze was the major author of the Georgian Constitution received in 1995 under president Shevardnadze. He was always active in Constitutional issues and participated in all sessions concerning the issue.

The initiative voiced within the 73-member State Constitutional Commission envisages the electing of the president indirectly by the 150-member legislative body and 150 elected delegates from the Georgian regions.

The initiative also says the president age must be over 45 and he/she shouldn't be affiliated to any political party.

Khmaladze says the election procedure would ensure the 'legitimacy' of the new president.

The attitude is shared by the majority representatives, who unlike the parliamentary opposition and the current president Giorgi Margvelashvili’s administration, approve of the such model of indirect election of the president.

Parliament Chair Kobakhidze says two versions were discussed about how the president could be elected.

One possibility was that the election would take place within Parliament, while the second was Khmaladze’s offer.

“We are now focused on Mr. Khmaladze’s initiative,” Kobakhidze said.

In his previous comment, Kobakhidze explained the new rule for the presidential election would come into force for 2023 and not for the 2018 presidential election, to avoid any controversy.

The statement came after the opposition and the president’s administration claimed the ruling team planned to take certain steps against Margvelashvili, whose first term in the role expires in 2018. However, he has the right to take part in the elections for the second and last time.

The president’s administration criticizes all the initiatives that envisage the president’s election indirectly and not by the population of Georgia.

The Constitutional Commission, composed of members of political parties, NGOs, experts, and legal representatives is scheduled to present the draft constitutional amendments before April 30 this year.