The old parliament building in Tbilisi gets a second wind. (Photo: Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch — The Georgian Dream coalition says parliament will return to Tbilisi by the end of the spring session.

After the parliamentary election in October, 2012, the eighth parliamentary assembly has been holding sessions in a new building in Kutaisi, in the west of Georgia. It was an idea put forth by President Mikheil Saakashvili to move parliament from the capital to the west, as a way to begin decentralizing the country, but even among the National Movement party some think this idea has not contributed to decentralization.

Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili said Friday that parliament is a place where significant issues are being decided.

“There have been tension between the majority and the minority, but still for those two months parliament managed to let it be a place for coexistence for both the majority and the minority,” he said.

The Speaker said that during this period, the assembly has voted for more than 50 drafts.

“About more than ten bills have gained complete support from the majority and the minority,” Usupashvili remarked. “All conditions are in place so that next year, parliament can raise its own standards and establish a culture of healthy political debates in the country, not only between majority and minority, but between parliament and government too.”

The coalition thinks that if parliament is moved back to Georgia, the new building in Kutaisi will not lose its function, but there are still some some issues to sort out regarding how to organize things.

“It is very hard to be constantly traveling between Tbilisi and Kutaisi. Not only for MPs, but for each employee of the legislative body; however those difficulties do not interrupt us from functioning normally.”

Usupashvili said rehabilitation work has already started on the old parliament building in Tbilisi. He assumes that they will be able to move back by the end of the spring session and then decide what to do with the Kutaisi building.