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President vetoes the bill

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, June 2
President Giorgi Magvelashvili vetoed the changes made to the law on the Constitutional Court on May 31. This is the fourth veto Margvelashvili has used during his presidency. Parliament was sent the President’s remarks over the law.

The remarks of the President refer to the increase of the quorum required for the Constitutional Court to decide cases and limiting the mandate of judges during the last three months of their 10-year term in office.

“As a result of our cooperation with the Prime Minister, I hope that Parliament will share our position and the Constitutional Court will continue functioning effectively,” said Margvelashvili, while stating his decision to use a veto.

According to Margvelashvili, vetoing the bill was preceded by the preliminary conclusion of the Venice Commission, consultations with the Prime Minister and the Chairman of Parliament.

In its preliminary opinion, the Venice Commission welcomed some amendments made to the bill, but criticized most of those issues which were a source of concern for many opposition MPs and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili welcomed the president’s veto and called on lawmakers for reaching an agreement and taking the remarks into consideration.

“This is a good precedent for constructive dialogue. I will do my best to convince the majority to accept the proposed remarks in the veto and not to override it,” the PM said.

The parliamentary majority, the Georgian Dream (GD) party, expressed readiness to read the President's remarks and take them under advisement. The ruling team does not exclude the detailed consideration of a preliminary conclusion provided by Venice Commission, an advisory board of Council of Europe and Presidential remarks as well.

“During the consultations we agreed our positions about the main remarks and we will make the final decision at the parliament session,” the main initiator of the bill, Eka Beselia, stated.

The Republicans, who formally remain within the majority until the parliamentary elections, welcome the President’s veto and are going to approve his remarks during the voting in Parliament.

“The President's remarks are absolutely acceptable for us as they coincide with our own opinion. Therefore, we are going to approve the version proposed by the President,” Tamar Khidasheli from the Republicans noted.

The United National Movement (UNM) party says the President's comments are logical. However, they believe that the government has already harmed Georgia’s international image.

“Whether the majority overrides veto or not, it is obvious that the government is acting against any state principles,” UNM member Davit Darchiashvili said.

Parliament has 15 days to decide whether to override the veto, for which at least 76 votes are necessary.

Changes to the Constitutional Court were adopted on May 14 with 81 votes during the third reading.

The bill increases the quorum required for the Constitutional Court to decide cases. It also proposes an increase in the number of judges required to be present when the Constitutional Court sits as a full bench when discussing a case.

Moreover, the amendments change the rule of nominating and electing a chairperson of the Constitutional Court.