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Proposed Constitutional changes impact the autonomy of the Adjara Autonomous Republic

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, November 16
Now Parliament plans to introduce yet other changes to the Georgian Constitution. Controversies concerning an increase in the number of MPs are underway, overshadowing other key amendments that might slip in unnoticed. One of these will seriously impact the Adjara Autonomous Republic. The initiator of these particular changes is none other than the President of Georgia.

According to the existing Constitution, the Supreme Council of the Adjara Autonomous Republic must be approved within ten days by the Georgian President, who can also choose a candidate for the position of Chairman of that Government. In the draft submitted to the Georgian Parliament on November 11 the text stipulates that the name of any candidate for Chairman must be submitted by the President to the Central Government first, and only after endorsement by the Georgian Government could she or he be appointed as Chair of the Adjara Autonomous Republic’s Government.

Some analysts say these changes are in compliance with constitutional reforms being carried out at present. However, after the 2013 elections, presidential powers may well be diminished and transferred to the Georgian Prime Minister. Accordingly, power to appoint and approve Adjara’s Government and its Chairman would be transferred to the Georgian PM... Since an increasing number of independent analysts are convinced that the ruling National Movement is preparing the legislative basis for Saakashvili to become PM, this amendment seems designed to assure him the power to mitigate Adjara’s autonomy in future.

Judging by the current situation, however, with Bidzina Ivanishvili entering the political scene, the situation might not be as clear-cut as intended originally. In any case the draft amendments are now being proposed and presumably they will be accepted by the ruling majority in Parliament.