MPs Hold Public Discussion at Courtyard Marriott
24 January, 2013
MPs Hold Public Discussion at Courtyard Marriott
Majority and Minority members on two constitutional changes

On January 22, at Courtyard Marriott Hotel, the mass media representatives were invited to the public discussion initiated by the representatives of the Parliament’s majority and minority members. The topic of discussion was two constitutional changes presented by the majority according to which: 1) Kutaisi will not be the only venue for the Parliament, as it was defined by the amendment of 2009, and 2) The President will not be able to
appoint the government without the permission of the Parliament, which implies reducing his rights. The public discussion was organized by the NDI. The Georgian Parliament was moved from Tbilisi to Kutaisi on October 20, 2012. The minority, which was than the majority, who decided it, justifies this fact by saying that the country should be decentralized and in this way, Georgia will avoid the capital’s turning into the tadpole city, where everything will be concentrated and nothing will ever happen in the regions; and this, according to the minority members, will hamper the regional development. However, the majority members oppose to this and say that there are a lot of inconveniences regarding the removal of the parliament, as the majority of MPs do not have the flats in Kutaisi, which is also connected with extra money, as well as time as they commute almost every day. They say that the Parliament is not the body that must be regulating the economic development and there are other possibilities for that, whilst the Parliament is the supreme legislative body and its members should be working comfortably to assure the appropriate law environment to the country.
However, Akaki Bobokhidze, the member of the minority, says that take it or leave it, the mere placement of Kutaisi region has provided a profit to Kutaisi population and caused no damage to Tbilisi. “You are saying that why not other towns? I would answer that Kutaisi is the number two country with its size and its unemployment rate is the highest. We have seen this solution. We don’t say that this is an ideal one, but if the Georgian Dream has any alternative, please, propose. But do not say that it is bad and that’s it.”
Zviad Dzidziguri from the Parliament’s majority commented for the media: “The mere fact of placing the Parliament in Kutaisi, which could well be followed by removing the Ministry of Interior Affairs to any other town of Georgia and so far, hardly could mean the plan of regional development. This is nothing but demagogy by means of which the minority tries to manipulate with the local population, which is not a politically justified scheme.”
Sergo Ratiani, member of the Parliamentary minority commented for the media: “We were offering the political, economical and social mobility development project. The Parliament in Kutaisi is a development project. Opposed to this, the majority offers nothing. They say: Stop it. So far the Georgian Dream does not suggest anything but stopping.“
Alexander Baramidze, Deputy Justice Minister who fully supports these two changes, commented about the restrictions of the President’s rights: “The President should not be entitled to dismiss the government on his own initiative. Moreover, if he does it and presents his own staff three times and the Parliament will not agree on, and if the President dismisses the Parliament too, in this case the Constitution does not give any levers who will be the interim government before the new Parliamentary elections. Our aim is exactly this – to eliminate this gap.” We would like to insert here that in the coming days, the rule of appointing the President is to be defined by the Parliament.
Nino Lomjaridze from the NGO “Fair Elections,” who was the anchor of the meeting, made a conclusion in the end by making some notes to the last version of the draft constitution presented by the majority lacks: “Even in case if the abovementioned changes are implemented perfectly well, the Constitution still gives a possibility for the President to create a crisis if he would wish. Therefore, it is necessary to urgently start the constitutional reform. Another question is quite a vague moment who will govern the country meanwhile, in case the President dismisses the government and in the aftermath, the Parliament. Therefore, we think that it is more than necessary that the Parliament is untouched and protected from dismissal within 6 months’ period after the Parliamentary elections or 6 months before the Presidential elections. “
Such public discussions were organized by the NPI earlier than in the capital in the two other towns of Georgia – Zugdidi and Kutaisi (Samegrelo and Imereti regions) on the background of minor incidents. The next meeting is planned to take place in Ozurgeti, Guria region.
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