TBILISI, DFWatch — Parliament will go back to work from mid-January in order to start work on a bill about constitutional amendments which will prevent the president from dismissing the government.
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s government proposes to change the procedure for how the president may dismiss the government and dissolve parliament. Under current legislation, a president may do both things under certain circumstances.
The move comes during a difficult period of power-sharing between President Mikheil Saakashvili and the Georgian Dream Coalition, the so-called cohabitation process, which started with the coalition unexpectedly winning the parliamentary election and forming a government. Some people are expecting the president to use his power to dismiss the government, given his frequent criticism of it.
In its current version, the constitution says that the president can not dissolve parliament for the first six months after a parliamentary election or within the last six months before a presidential election, which there will be in October. Consequently, the president may dissolve parliament only within a ten-day window from April 21 to May 1.
Before New Year, Ivanishvili said that the new government will simplify the procedure by which the president may dissolve parliament.
“We decided not to touch any of the president’s authority until his term is over. We will leave all his powers untouched, except one – to individually change the Georgian government against the will of the Georgian people,” Speaker of Parliament Davit Bakradze says. He explains that this way the president might try to artificially create a political crisis.
A draft has been presented to the president, which reduces the period in which he can not dissolve parliament after a parliamentary election from six to three months. Also, his power to dismiss a government is taken away.
“We tell the National Movement and the President that if they are willing to do this, yes, sir, you can do this. Let’s see who wins and who loses, politically,” Davit Usupashvili says.
The National Movement party has said repeatedly that the president doesn’t plan to dissolve parliament.
A commission for public discussions has been formed to review the constitutional amendments. The commission will hold meetings with representatives of civil society in the end of January, the intention being that these comments will be taken into account by the representatives behind the law, and after that parliament will discuss the bill.