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Will parliament further restrict presidential powers?

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, December 3
Georgia’s Parliament has successfully overridden a veto the president used on a surveillance bill. The parliament went ahead adopted another draft that it preferred instead. It appears that President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s veto has offended the majority and they have launched talks on the restriction of his right to veto. The response by the majority members was negatively assessed by the parliamentary minority.

Majority MP Zakaria Kutsnashvili believes that the president should use its veto when a bill contradicts the constitution.

Fellow majority MP Davit Saganelidze doesn’t have a problem with the president vetoing a bill. However, he should not be permitted to offer alternative initiatives over the draft. He thinks that lawmaking is not the president’s sphere of competence.

Members of the United National Movement believe that the Georgian Dream government is trying to weaken the presidential institute. They are against amending any of the president’s current veto powers.

Talk of restricting the Margvelashvili’s powers were unclear to the president’s Parliamentary Secretary Giorgi Kverenchkhiladze. He explained that there are two types of vetoes – absolute and restricted.

“The Georgian President has the right to restricted vetoes according to the current legislation. I do not understand how they could restrict this right any more than it is already,” he says.

Vetoing the government-backed bill on surveillance that envisaged granting access to surveillance to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Personal Data Protection Inspector, widened an already notable gap between the president and the government. Thus, the recent talk of restricting the president’s powers further come as no surprise.

On the other hand, the checks and balances that were exhibited during this process vividly demonstrate the country’s democratic advancement. Several months ago the president used his veto power and the parliament refused to override it, unlike the veto used several days ago.

We should not forget that overriding President Mikheil Saakashvili’s veto under the previous government would have been impossible.