Parliament to open daycare
By Messenger Staff
Monday, April 2Last week, an amendment to the Constitution was introduced which lowers the qualifying age for Parliament from 25 to 21. So as soon as you are 21 you can become an MP, regardless of education, experience, or other unnecessary qualifications.
Our glorious legislators passed this initiative by 80 votes, even though the opposition was not in favour of the change. Chair of the Parliamentary Judiciary Committee, Pavle Kublashvili, believes that youth deserve a chance to contribute to political life, as well as represent their town or region. Low ages for serving in legislatures are common practice Europe, where the minimum age for voting and serving in a parliament are both 18 in many countries. We do not envy any country with such young MPs.
The non-parliamentary opposition have also assessed the amendment as misguided. Lawyer Zakaria Kutsnashvili believes that either the government wants to distract the population from serious things, or the administration has problems attract experienced people over 25, while they can easily manipulate young candidates. Many members of the opposition argue that to be an MP means to place a large burden of responsibility on one's shoulders. This requires not only basic education, but professional training, life experience, and the wisdom gained through time. Standard Georgian schooling last for 12 years, so there is a chance that a 21-year-old candidate could still be a student, and have not received any higher or professional training.
Analysts are split on the matter, with some citing examples of very young people ruling countries throughout history. Georgia has its own example, as its famed King David the Builder took the throne at age 16. Others believe that even the current requirement is too low, and the age to qualify for Parliament should be 35 or 40.
We can't help but link this decision to other big change coming to Parliament – its move from Tbilisi to Kutaisi. The date for the first session there was moved up from May 26 to May 1. These decisions are only serving to confuse the public – and make them unhappy with a government that is distracted by this changes, and not major issues.