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Majority says President will veto constitutional amendments

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, September 15
The Georgian Dream MP Giorgi Kakhiani says that President Giorgi Margvelashvili is very likely to veto the constitutional amendments after the constitutional amendments are adopted by Parliament this month.

Kukhiani said the key reason for this will be Margvelashvili’s most recent offer to the opposition to jointly draft the constitutional amendment, as the president, the opposition and NGOs are against some major points of the amended law.

“The president will present the draft elaborated with the opposition as his ‘motivated remarks’ in Parliament after he vetoes the bill written by the constitutional commission,” Kakhiani says.

Kakhiani said that the ruling team has “tried many times” to agree with the opposition on controversial issues, but in vain.

The opposition shifts blame on the Georgian Dream, saying the ruling party is trying to fit the constitution to its own interests.

President of Georgia offered the opposition parties to develop an alternative draft of constitutional amendments this week.

Margvelashvili declared this initiative after his meeting with the opposition.

“We see that a certain document already exists. Take it as a starting point, make notes on the basic paragraphs that were being discussed, write your own version and offer to the government as an outcome. Doing it this way, you will make your partners see that different political forces do things together,” Margvelashvili said.

The United National Movement (UNM), European Georgia, New Georgia, Democratic Movement and several minor parties expressed their readiness to accept the offer.

However, despite the acceptance of the offer, Nika Melia from UNM and Elene Khoshtaria from European Georgia said the ruling team will adopt the constitutional amendments regardless of the opposition’s position.

The constitutional amendments have already been approved in two readings.

The President, opposition and NGOs strongly oppose the notes in the constitutional draft, which reads that the country will move to fully proportional elections from 2024 and not from 2020; the President will no longer be elected by the people after the 2018 presidential elections; there will be no election blocs, and most undistributed votes (the votes received by the parties failing to overcome an established threshold in the elections) may be received by one party without a fair sharing between the parliamentary parties.

Experts say that the Parliament, in which the Georgian Dream has 116 MPs out of total 150, will easily override the president’s veto [ at least 76 votes are needed for this] and adopt the constitutional amendments initiated by the ruling team.