TBILISI, DFWatch–President Giorgi Margvelashvili rejects a draft new Constitution presented by the ruling GD government because it is not based on a consensus.

“The entire Georgian society believes we need a consensus document, but Georgian Dream thinks consensus means dialogue with themselves,” President Giorgi Margvelashvili said on Friday.

The president’s rejection was not unexpected as there has been longstanding friction between him and the ruling party, but is nonetheless a blow to the government, which has meticulously conducted public hearings around the country and talked with other political parties about their planned changes to the Constitution.

He recalled how even under difficult conditions in 1995, when Georgia drafted its first constitution after independence, the country’s leadership found a way to reach consensus.

“Even in 1995, when there were 23 parties in parliament and Georgia’s democracy was still only in its infancy, consensus could be reached,” he said.

Earlier, on Thursday, he said that the draft constitution has ‘zero’ consensus support.

“I reminded Georgians about 6 months ago that such a spirit does not create a document of national unity[…] We got [a draft constitution] that has zero consensus [support]. This document is being backed by only one party,” Giorgi Margvelashvili said at the embassy of Germany, where he was visiting to express his condolences in connection with the passing away of former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

Margvelashvili called upon MPs not to support the draft.

“Adopting the Constitution by force, without consent, is not the right step. Do not abuse the political process,” he said.

The draft Constitution has been prepared by a commission which consisted of MPs, members of government, opposition and civic groups. However, the ruling party enjoyed the upper hand in the commission, and the president whose relationship with Georgian Dream has been testy the last three years boycotted its work right from the start.

The draft has been criticized by the entire spectrum of opposition groups and most nongovernmental organizations.