TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Dream coalition and the National Movement Party agree to reduce the powers of the president.
This will need immediate enforcement of that part of the constitution which applies to the powers of the president and which should have been enforced only after the presidential election, which is scheduled in October, 2013.
Representatives of both parties have been holding closed negotiations for a week.
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanshvili’s coalition has prepared constitutional amendments, which will mean changing that part of the constitution which regulates how and under what circumstances the president may dismiss the government and dissolve parliament.
The reasoning behind these changes is that the president has a wide range of powers and can create a government crisis, as he is an opponent of the current government and the Georgian Dream coalition and power-sharing still seems to not really be working out.
The second amendment is to remove that section of the constitution which defines the location of parliament. Today, this is Kutaisi in western Georgia; an initiative of the president.
100 votes are needed to adopt constitution changes. The Georgian Dream coalition is nine votes short, but says some members of Saakashvili’s party will support its amendments, while simultaneously holding negotiations about this issue.
The National Movement members are against of the amendments and have set their own condition for supporting them – to add a section into the constitution about seeking membership in EU and NATO.
Friday, representatives of both Georgian Dream and the National Movement said that the new regulations about the president’s powers will be enforced before the presidential election, but it now seems that what will be enforced is only the rule about dismissing the government and parliament. The National Movement’s condition for agreeing is to leave parliament where it is–in Kutaisi–and to create constitutional guarantees about seeking EU and NATO membership.
Friday, the National Movement proposed to immediately enforce a different set of constitutional amendments which were passed in 2010 at a time when the National Movement controlled a constitutional majority in parliament. Later, the speaker of parliament confirmed that there are negotiations in progress on this issue.
These changes reduce the powers of the president and increases those of the prime minister. It balances relations between the parliament, government and president of Georgia.
If these new regulations come into force before the presidential election in October, it will include the latest set of amendments. According to these, as soon as a newly elected parliament’s authority is recognized, the authority of the government is abolished and the president instructs the former government to fulfill the duties of the new government until new staff is confirmed.
In addition, the president will be forced to appoint as prime minister that member of parliament which achieved the best results in the election.
Also, the president will only have the right to dissolve parliament if a parliamentary majority cannot be formed. It will no longer be the authority of the president to manage the domestic and foreign policy of the country.
Both parties say that negotiations on these issues have not yet finished and a final decision is not yet made.