TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia wants to take away one more power from the president: the right to award two top awards.
The awards in question are the Shota Rustaveli award and the National awards of Georgia. The government wants to give the prime minister the right to give these awards.
The Culture Ministry prepared a bill and the government had to decide whether send it to parliament at Tuesday’s session.
But before discussion started, the story blew up in the media and became a hot topic for discussion, displacing the debate about the local election results. The government decided to postpone the discussion.
Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze said on Tuesday that the government has not yet made a decision and more discussion is necessary.
The culture minister did not attend the government session. DF Watch tried to get an explanation for the necessity of a draft from the Culture Ministry, but they didn’t comment.
Constitutional experts explain that adopting such bill would violate the constitution. Zurab Jibghashvili explains that in this case there will be different norms in the constitution and reality will differ from it.
“I think this issue needs serious discussions and the constitution commission should consider it as well.”
Amendments of constitution adopted by previous parliament assembly in 2010 by the initiative of Mikheil Saakashvili came into force after the presidential election in October 2013. These amendments reduced the power of the president and increased those of the prime minister. Earlier, it was seen as Saakasvhili preparing the post of PM for himself, as he had served out both of his presidential terms.
Politicians who now are members of ruling Georgian Dream party were ardently opposing these changes, but they did nothing to change them when they came to power.
The prime minister, who now has increased power, is trying to take away certain prerogatives from the president and claims them for himself.
According to the constitution, the president is head of state and commander-in-chief of the country, the power prime minister contends for. During recent months the latter managed to pull out several powers away from the president, thus actually signaling to everyone who’s the boss.
That process became more evident after Bidzina Ivanishvili, political mentor of both president and prime minister, in a televised interview publicly lambasted the former while lauded the latter.
Now prime minister Gharibashvili enjoys total support from MPs from Georgian Dream and consequently powers of president has been gradually moving into the hands of prime minister by amending laws, or even without it.
A good example of this is what happened regarding the signing of the Association Agreement with the EU. According to the constitution, the president signs international treaties, as a head of state, but he needs here consent of the government.
Despite this prime minister declared that he would sign the document and almost every one in the ruling coalition agreed, while president had to concede.
Another similar decision was creation of the Council for State Security and Crisis Management (CSSCM).
Since the president is the Commander-in-Chief, the Security Council is subordinate to him. Despite this the government established a same type of body under authority of the prime minister.
Earlier it was said that this new body, CSSCM, would have other functions with focus on crisis management, like handling of natural disasters, but in the end it turned out that this body has pretty much the same functions as the Security Council.
For instance CSSCM, not Security Council, recently discussed issue of reducing number of Georgian troops in Afghanistan.
The PM also renamed the President scholarship, which is granted to successful students, and changed the name into the Government Scholarship.