‘THERE IS THREAT OF INTENSE POLITICAL CRISIS’
18 October, 2012
‘THERE IS THREAT OF  INTENSE POLITICAL CRISIS’

Interview with constitutionalist Vakhtang Khmaladze

‘As a result of the 2004 Constitutional amendments the President is the chief of everybody and everything. The only thing not mentioned there is the ‘right of first night’, otherwise he has all the rights – says constitutionalist Vakhtang Khmaladze who will head the Legal Committee in the new Parliament.

A. – According to this Constitution, the President can always create a reason to dismiss Ministers of Interior Affairs, Justice and Defense. Any time, without giving the

reason, he can sack the Prime Minister and this means that simultaneously all the ministers will be dismissed. The President has the right to sell state property for symbolic price – 1 Lari or 1 Tetri to anybody.

Under the current situation this kind of Constitutional model includes the threat of intense political crisis. Everything depends on how reasonably the President will behave, whether he will concede to people’s will.

Q. – Do the recent steps taken by Saakashvili allow us to say that he has no wish to instigate crisis?

A. – He said he wouldn’t use the rights given by the Constitution. He could refuse to envisage the winner ‘Georgian Dream’s decision to complete the government that will be headed by Ivanishvili. He could appoint on the post of Premiere and ministers those whom he wished. The President was fully authorized to do so and this is exactly what makes the Constitution faulty – it stipulates crisis. For now his actions don’t indicate that he’ll break his promise but parallel to this there are processes indicating not at cooperation but confrontation, buttressing his own flanks and rear in order to use the time for maximally strengthening the ‘National Movement’.

The President moved the State Communications Department from Interior Ministry’s subordination to Special Department of State Protection. It’s a department of telephone or any other kind of communication between the state Institutions. Placing it under subordination of Department of Special Protection means that conversations of ministers, transmitted through special or protected channels can be eavesdropped.

The president subordinated the state provision service that earlier was under the Ministry of Economics. As far as I remember this service was assigned to render material support to persons occupying highest political positions and other officials having high posts in State Institutions; so what has the President to do with all this?

Saakashvili has started assigning of governors as well as of new heads of local administration …Several groups of dwellers of Tbilisi sent me complaints that the property (land or buildings) that still are under litigation, under false papers has been given to some people as private property and the process of forceful turning the other party out has started.

Q. – Representatives of ‘National Movement’ declare that they won’t concede the audit service and the National Bank heads of which have already been nominated by Bidzina Ivanishvili.

A. – General auditor, presented by Chairman, is elected by the Parliament. He can be dismissed through impeachment in case he violates Constitution or in his actions there are signs of crime.

Q. – The Court is of great significance. Will this branch of powers start serving justice?

A. - Chairman of Supreme Court (and its members) after being presented by the President are elected for 10 years and his dismissal is possible through impeachment. Let’s see whether there are law infringements in his actions. We know quite well that our court is politicized, don’t we?

Q. – Will the appointed judges be liberated from subordination to appointers?

A. – The cases decided by judges must be studied and it will be revealed whether the verdicts correspond to the law or not. If there are such cases, one could at least speak about lack of qualification and dishonesty of the judge.

Q. – What is the role of Justice Council and Disciplinary Council with regard to judges?

A. – These bodies will have a big role. The Supreme Court of Justice (that will be elected for 4 years) will elect judges. Their duty will be to analyze the judges’ activity and make corresponding conclusions but today the Chairman of the Supreme Court enjoys the right of forming the Council of Justice and it’s a wrong decision. It’s not fair that according to the law, Chairman of the Supreme Court is also Chairman of Council of Justice and when 8 other members of the Council of Justice, including the secretary, are elected by the conference of judges after they are presented by Chairman of the Supreme Court. In 15-men-strong Council of Justice 2 are appointed by the President. 3 persons, out of whom one must be from opposition, are elected by the Parliament. Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Legal Issues is also a member Council of Justice. According to this principle 12 out of 15 people turn out to be from ‘National Movement’.

The situation is grave but not catastrophic. I hope everything will end peacefully but it will take a lot of sweat. I am optimistically minded because majority of our people are in the same mood and I feel great support from them.

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