TBILISI, DFWatch–Lawmakers in Georgia today start debating whether to write its foreign policy into the constitution, and if so, how many details of it.
Foremost among issues likely to end up in the constitution is EU and NATO membership aspirations.
The bill, which was suggested by Giorgi Baramidze, a representative from the National Movement party (UNM), will be discussed in the foreign affairs and EU integration committe.
The reason this and other policy points have become constitutional topics in Georgia, is that the power bloc which lost the election in October last year, the National Movement of President Mikheil Saakashvili, has been accusing the new government of Bidzina Ivanishvili of wanting to halt the country’s approach toward membership in EU and NATO, or what in political language is called Euro-Atlantic integration.
Instead, Saakashvili and his allies assert, Ivanishvili wants to orient the country toward Moscow, and the ostensible purpose of the bill is to bar such a policy.
The bill would also create a legislative guarantee that Georgia will not join organizations and unions where Russia is the dominant country, notably the CIS – a union among former Soviet countries.
Also part of the bill is a prohibition on locating Russian troops on Georgian territory, and on such troops entering or crossing Georgian territory.
UNM members think the constitution should also prohibit the placing of military bases in Georgia by a country which is occupying Georgian territories.
The draft bill also includes a passage about not to recognize the breakaway republics Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and accelerating the process of ending the occupation of those regions. It further says that Georgia shouldn’t have diplomatic relations with countries which recognize those regions as independent states.
Today, the foreign policy committee will also review a 14-point agreement on foreign policy which was prepared by its chair, Tedo Japaridze from the governing Georgian Dream coalition.
Other constitutional amendments are also being discussed. Georgian Dream wants to limit the president’s power to dismiss the government at will, and to dissolve parliament and announce a new election. The coalition lacks nine votes to pass these amendments on its own, which has placed the National Movement in a vantage position to set its terms.