Legal reform

Escalating rhetoric between Georgia’s parliament and president

by | Mar 9, 2017
irakli_kobakhidze

Speaker of Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–A meeting summoned by the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has become the latest episode in the downward spiral of deteriorating relations between him and the ruling Georgian Dream party.

On Thursday, Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze published a statement condemning steps taken by the president regarding an ongoing process to change the Constitution.

He particularly reacted to Margvelashvili summoning representatives of local and international organizations, political parties, the diplomatic corps, constitutional lawyers, members of the constitutional commission, media and others to his residence on March 10.

The president’s administration has refrained from participating in the work of a commission preparing a set of changes to Georgia’s Constitution. He remains suspicious that the commission’s real purpose is to diminish the role of the president and concentrate more power in the hands of the ruling political party, Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia.

Kobakhidze lists his objections to the meeting called by the president, underscoring that the president’s activities have been directed at belittling the work done by the constitutional commission, which consists of politicians, experts and representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“I hereby call on the president to set narrow political interests aside and show respect for constitutional institutions, without creating artificial impediments to the activity of the State Constitutional Commission, and to act in adherence with the Constitution and the legislation of Georgia,” Irakli Kobakhidze’s statement reads.

The parliament speaker further pointedly underlined that it’s up to the parliament to organize a public consultation process whenever there’s a process to change the Constitution.

“Hence, Mr Margvelashvili’s initiative, which was done without consulting parliament, blatantly contradicts the requirements of Georgian legislation and should be seen as another instance of disrespect to the parliament,” the statement reads.

The president’s administration responded with a scathing comment by his chief of staff Giorgi Abashishvili.

“We informed the public back on December 12 that we planned to ensure a wide public discussion on constitutional issues,” Abashishvili told journalists.

“As for this issue [Kobakhidze’s statement], the new threat was added to the list of already existing threats to the president – the taboo to talk about constitutional issues with the people – while the president himself is a guarantor of the Constitution.”



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