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Constitution for everybody

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 14
The President of Georgia, who was refused the option to co-chair the state commission working on changes into the country’s main law, initiated a new campaign entitled ‘Constitution for everybody’. This envisages the holding of public discussions around Georgia over changes in the public wish to see in the renewed constitution at the end of April this year.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili, whose administration members refused to participate in the activities of the 73-member commission, says the constitution must reflect the public views, and the new campaign would help the commission propose changes supported by some layers of the population.

Some of the ruling team representatives, like one of the leaders of the Georgian Dream party Mamuka Mdinaradze, believe the President is “staging a show”, and if he really wishes to promote the process, his people must be involved in the relevant commission’s activities.

Giorgi Kakhiani, also from the ruling team, stated the President’s messages were “pleasant to hear,” and it could be appreciated that Margvelashvili offered no alternative campaign and was speaking about the support of the constitutional commission.

He stressed it would be a nice gesture if the President’s representatives attended the next meeting of the commission.

A member of the parliamentary opposition European Georgia party, Khatuna Gogorishvili, says additional discussions and consultations are required in this regard for the process to be fruitful.

She believes large-scaled public involvement in amending the constitution can only be welcomed.

Expert Vakhushti Menabde, who is one of the members of the commission, says the President’s messages were acceptable and he wished to see the president’s administration members at the commission’s meetings, involved in discussions.

In early December, last year Georgia’s Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze, announced that a constitutional commission would be created and he would chair it himself.

The statement meant that President Margvelashvili’s offer of the creation of such a commission co-chaired by him, the Prime Minister and the Parliament Speaker had been turned down.

Kobakhidze stressed that the Commission, which would be created in Parliament and would be composed of all interested parties, referring to the President’s representatives, majority, minority, experts, civil sector and people from constitutional institutions.

The Constitutional Commission was established in 2013 under the Georgian Dream Government, as the authorities believed the amendments put in the constitution under the United National Movement leadership in 2010 included drawbacks and caused a misbalance between different state institutions.