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Opposition declaration against Constitutional amendments

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, May 3
Opposition parties united in the movement “Protect Constitution” have signed a declaration against planned changes to the country’s main legal code.

They stressed the amendments only met the interests of the current ruling Georgian Dream party.

In the declaration, the parties stressed they stood against the indirect election of the president, the prohibition of election blocs, the 5% election threshold and giving all undistributed mandates to the party with most votes, as well as the relocation of Parliament from Kutaisi to Tbilisi.

Meanwhile, the European Georgia opposition party said they are launching a door-to-door campaign to learn the public’s attitude towards the Constitutional amendments.

The party also announced they would participate in discussions in Parliament within a special commission, as the draft of the amendments has already been submitted to the legislative body.

Another parliamentary opposition party, the former ruling United National Movement, boycotted the discussions.

Georgian Dream and the head of the Constitutional Commission, Irakli Kobakhidze, says that 80% of the amendments were drafted based on the NGOs’ and experts’ recommendations.

In the Constitutional Commission, which has already completed its four-month activities and which was initially composed of 73 members supported the amendments with 43 votes for and three against, as several members of the Commission boycotted the process.

The Constitutional amendments were initiated by the current ruling party as they believed the Constitution changed in 2010 under the United National Movement authorities created a range of controversies and misbalance between different state institutions.

The ruling team promised to take the Venice Commission’s remarks into account before the approval of the changes in the legislative body, allegedly to take place at the spring session.

At least 113 votes out of the 150-member legislative body are required for approving the changes.

The ruling party currently occupies 116 seats in Parliament.