TBILISI, DFWatch – Saakashvili promises that the first session in the brand new parliament building in Kutaisi will be held on May 26, 2012. To keep this promise it is necessary to either violate the constitution or change it.
The third part of the current constitution, which was amended last year this time, deals with the rules for how parliament functions, its powers and responsibilities.
“The parliament’s location is the town of Kutaisi,” this chapter says. “To convene after the summarizing protocol of the results of the next elections has been published by the Central Elections Commission.”
This means that parliament’s location until the next election is Tbilisi, and convening in any other place would violate the constitution.
Despite this fact, the president states that Parliament’s first session in Kutaisi will be held on May 26, 2012. He made this statement at a meeting with the parliamentary majority.
“We all agreed that parliament’s first session will be held in Kutaisi on May 26. Not only one session, but parliament will be ready to hold sessions in Kutaisi,” Mikheil Saakashvili stated at Monday’s meeting.
This is the second time the president makes such a statement. First time was in the end of September, which led to a reaction from people who said it is necessary to change the constitution to keep this promise, or else it’ll be violated.
But back then, the parliamentary majority tried to justify Saakashvili’s statement by saying he meant that what will take place in the new Kutaisi Parliament building will be purely an opening ceremony, and not a real session.
“As for what will happen on May 26, 2012, the parliament building will be completed, and I think today’s parliament really deserve a new building, considering the condition of today’s parliament building. But it does not mean that the parliament will make some decisions there, or hold a session, or vote. It will be a presentation, an opening ceremony. The new parliament will officially begin functioning after the October 2012 elections,” Pavle Kublashvili, chairman of Parliament’s Justice Committee said then.
Despite this statement, the president still repeated that the first session of Parliament will be held in Kutaisi on May 26, 2012 and not when the constitution indicates.
This has led Zakaria Kutsnashvili, constitutionalist and chairman of the non-governmental organization Law for People, to state that the president’s statement is unclear. Kutsnashvili thinks it can’t be done without violating the constitution.
“The location of parliament’s sessions is defined by the law and it is the basic law of the country: the constitution and parliament’s regulation. But structural units are often considered under the word ‘parliament’ – the same as a parliamentary bureau, committees and it’s often held bureau or committee field sessions. But changing the location for parliament’s session, except in war or an emergency situation is a violation of the constitution and the regulation,” Zakaria Kutsnashvili says.
How the president’s promise will be kept – by changing or violating the constitution – is yet unclear, because there is no explanation forthcoming about the issue from the president’s administration.