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Constitutional Court Transfer Leading Example of Decentralization in Action

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, July 28
In a visit to the Constitutional Court in Batumi, the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, emphasized the impact of moving the court from the capital Tbilisi to Batumi. The "historical decision" to make the move "has made everyone realize the necessity of the decentralization process in the country,” Saakashvili said stressing that “Georgia will be a country with regions equally representing governing bodies.”

The president continued that “this reasonable and successful step has become the basis for moving the Parliament of Georgia to Kutaisi.” Regretting he would never become a judge, the president praised the profession of judges and stressed that the successful steps made for strengthening the country would become the basis for the successful development of Georgia.

Saakashvili attended the swearing in of Tamaz Tsaburashvili who replaced the judge Johnny Khetsuriani after his ten year service as a presidential appointee. Expressing his gratitude towards the former judge, Giorgi Papuashvili, Chairman of the Constitutional Court, praised Tsaburashvili’s activities and practical skills as a lawyer at the General Prosecutor’s Office and the High Council of Justice and welcomed the new judge to office.

Explaining that the decentralization process is common to democratic states, political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze spoke of the positive and negative aspects of the President’s initiative to The Messenger. “It’s not a surprise that the president praises his own initiatives but I wonder whether the government will manage to keep its administrative functions during the entire process and ensure the economic decentralization of the country,” Sakvarelidze stated. Stressing that the main aim of decentralization is to equally distribute authority throughout the country but keep ties among the regions, the analyst spoke of difficulties the state may yet face.

There are worries over the possible complications from decentralization and Sakvarelidze regrets that no economic basis for decentralization has been considered by the Georgian government so far. Giving the example of the US where the capital city Washington remains the political but New York the economic centre, Sakvarelidze emphasized that such a diffusion of economic power would effectively encourage the internal migration process and people would start moving from the capital Tbilisi to the regions.