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New Constitution being worked on

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, April 7
Work on the new Constitution is currently being undertaken in a hasty manner. A draft has been already completed by academics and now the politicians, and of course the Government, will try and shape it and give it its final touches. However information suggests that there is serious discord within the Constitutional Commission about the final version which has been presented.

Rumours suggest that the Government, represented in the Constitutional Commission by MP Pavle Kublashvili, has certain objections to the draft. It offers the model of a Parliamentary republic, whereas the ruling power prefers a mixture of a Parliamentary and Presidential system. Kublashvili has stated openly that the model presented is a Parliamentary one but it is wrapped up and presented as a mixed one. However head of the Constitutional Commission Avtandil Demetrashvili insists that it is indeed a mixed model.

The Government does not like the part of the suggested Constitution in which the rights of the Government and the President and the interrelation between them is defined. Demetrashvili thinks that the President should have as little executive power as possible. Moreover he thinks that it would be ideal if he had no executive power at all. “He should be an arbiter between the branches of power,” Demetrashvili states, and only under certain conditions have the right to dismiss the Government and Parliament. Thus he would not be a strong executive but a strong arbiter, Demetrashvili says.

It has become known that a variant draft which suits the Government is being worked on by representative of the Ministry of Justice and the member of the Commission Vasil Gonashvili. Demetrashvili thinks that the final draft will have to be accepted and confirmed by consensus among the members of the Constitutional Commission. There are also some other attempts to draft the Constitution taking place in addition to these which may muddy the waters: Liberty Institute Chair Levan Ramishvili has suggested a version creating an American-style Presidential republic and a federal state. Yet another draft is also being worked on by the Public Constitutional Commission, and one of its authors, the NGO head and former MP Zakaria Kutsnashvili, has said that this draft will be submitted to the population on April 14.

Minister during the Gamsakhurdia period Elizbar Javelidze has said that under Ramishvili's project the country will become the United States of Georgia. We would have a State of Guria, State of Kakheti and so on. Demetrashvili thinks that positive elements from Ramishvili's project could be added to the existing draft elaborated by his Commission but it is not beneficial for Georgia to accept the project as a whole for different reasons. Demetrashvili reminds us that President Saakashvili has several times stressed that the governance of Georgia should be closer to the European model rather than the American one Ramishvili is promoting. What he will think of the Kutsnashvili project is not yet known, but it is clear that with many competing Constitutions to choose from the easiest thing for those making the choice is just do whatever the Government wants rather than examine, mix and match details. It is also clear that the Government knows this.

So it could be said that the new Constitution is ready but not ready. Hot debates, discussions and controversies might still emerge.