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Key Challenges of the Constitutional Amendments

By Tina Tskhovrebadze
Monday, July 3
In recent months the constitutional amendments has become one of the most debated issues on the Georgian political agenda.

The most important among discussed topics have been: type of electoral system of the Parliament of Georgia, the role and responsibilities of the country’s president, freedom of parties, definition regarding the right of marriage, children’s rights, equality, property, belief, citizenship, maintaining the balance between Judiciary and prosecutor’s Offices.

The ruling party stresses that the amendments have been developed to improve the quality of democracy in the country.

According to a widespread definition, democracy itself stands on the rule of people and its most valuable principle is to ensure a democratic government that practices the balance of state powers that shall control one another as well.

Georgia, as a young state, trying to improve the level of its democratizations still seeks for the ways leading to the best governing options facing some key questions that need objective answers. The main challenges are: electoral system, presidential elections and power. The most important tendency that can already be seen in the constitutional amendments is the growing legacy of power in favor of the Georgian Parliament and weakening the role of President’s Office. The recommendations of the Venice Commission evaluates constitutional amendments mostly positively, but warns that the Georgian political system may lack a balance of the power among the state powers: ‘the 5% threshold in combination with the prohibition of electoral blocs and the allocation of seats to the winning party is upheld for the parliamentary elections, the President will most likely be the candidate of the parliamentary majority. This outcome risks jeopardizing the (restricted) role of the President as a neutral arbitrator between the state institutions and weakening the system of checks and balances set up under the draft amendments,’ states the document issued by the commission.

As for the representatives of Georgian opposition parties, most of them do not agree with the amendments. Some of them fear that imbalance in power division will lead to the “collapse of state.”The “European Georgia” prefers to appoint a plebiscite regarding the constitutional amendments. The party representatives state that the ruling force does not take into consideration the main tendencies that exist in the Georgian society.

It should be mentioned that despite of the attempts to have an open interactive process regarding the amendments to the main law of the country, participation of the Georgian society is still low and needs a well-planned research to identify the challenges they see in the country’s main political agenda. Identification and fair description of their attitudes and preferences will increase the quality of democracy within the country and act in favor of constructing an effective policy.