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Parliament partially returns to Tbilisi

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, September 3
Georgian lawmakers have returned to the historic Parliament building in Tbilisi to continue their duties after a two-year hiatus. Only committee meetings will be held in the Tbilisi building, while plenary sessions will continue to be held in Kutaisi, where Parliament moved in May 2012. Members of the United National Movement oppose the amendment.

The Georgian Dream spent more than a year trying to change the Constitution and return Parliament to Tbilisi. However, the Georgian Dream coalition lacked the necessary votes. Consequently, a decision was made to split Parliament between Kutaisi and Tbilisi, which was made possible by a provision in the regulations, allowing Parliament to conduct outreach committee meetings.

Parliamentary Speaker Davit Usupashvili hopes that parliament will be fully moved to Tbilisi in the near future and accuses the former government in the deliberate destruction of the Tbilisi parliament building, which rehabilitation costs have reached GEL 22 million.

Parliamentary majority member Levan Berdzenishvili states that the moving of parliament to Kutaisi has created many problems.

“Sometime I have to invite people in Tbilisi to cafes to discuss important issues, as being in Kutaisi makes meeting with people difficult,” Berdzenishvili said.

The United National Movement has criticized the government. There were speculations that the members of the UNM would not participate in the bureau meetings as a sign of protest.

Gigi Tsereteli admitted that the National Movement members have never said they would not get involved in the parliamentary process.

"We had been doing it very actively in Kutaisi, which is the location of the parliament as per the constitution’" stated Tsereteli.

He said the National Movement believes the movement of parliamentary committees to Tbilisi was not consistent with the current constitution.

UNM members stress that moving the parliament to Kutaisi was vitally important for the second largest city’s development.