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Constitutional Court vs Gov’t backed bill

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 14
The Constitutional Court of Georgia has temporarily suspended the functioning of a special agency controlling Georgia’s financial institutions instead of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG).

During the summer, Georgia’s legislative body – in spite of protests from the opposition, Non-Governmental and international organisations - approved a bill offered by majority MPs envisaging depriving the NBG of its supervisory functions to financial institutions in Georgia.

The President shared the opponents' protest and was stating that the bill created a threat towards the NBG's independence. He vetoed the bill, but Parliament overcame the veto.

After the incident, a special agency has been established and approved by Parliament, fulfilling the supervisory obligations.

Now, after the appeal of 39 opposition MPs against the law, the Constitutional Court stated that it suspended the activities of the agency and returned the obligation to the NBG once again before making a final verdict over the issue.

The Court stressed that several points of the bill might be risky for the country’s financial stability.

Majority initiators of the bill have immediately voiced their negative attitudes over the court's decision.

Despite the fact that one of the creators of the bill, Tamaz Mechiauri, stated that he respected the independent solution of the court, he described the Constitutional Court as an “addition” of the opposition United National Movement (UNM).

Fellow majority MP Zakaria Kutsnashvili added that the Constitutional Court “had been sleeping for nine years” under the previous state leadership and only just awoke.

On the other hand, the opposition UNM and Free Democrats parties stated that the Court has made a “state-important” decision.

It is a fact that the Constitutional Court did not make a decision that was in the interests of the current state administration. This aspect might be described as positive, as it means that the court is no longer under the Government’s influence.

However, we should also be sure that the court is no longer suppressed by the previous Government member.

Independence means full independence from all political players.

When it comes to this particular issue, the Constitutional Court’s solution is quite logical, as only the Government backed the bill.

Even some members of the Government, the Minister of Infrastructure Nodar Javakhishvili among them, stated that depriving the NBG from its supervisory functions could be acceptable only in the current situation, in the context of a rough devaluation of the national currency against the dollar. As Javakhishvili said, in some other circumstances, the law would have been unacceptable for him.

This approach is also negative as it sets a risky precedent. It means that we adopt laws based on one certain situation and when the problem is settled, the law might turn extremely harmful.

The Government and Parliament should carefully think about a bill and discuss all its pros and cons, only after supporting it after through careful consideration.