Adopted on First Hearing
30 September, 2010
Adopted on First Hearing

Georgian Parliament Waits for the Second Historic Day


Approval of constitutional changes on first hearing was termed by the Parliamentary Majority as a “historical day”. The process was set in motion by Zurab Adeishvili. In contrast to other Ministers, he answered all the questions the opposition raised.


According to the results of voting on draft constitutional changes, only a minor segment of MPs from the opposition has actually declined the motion. Most of them approved it on the first hearing.

The run-up to the voting proved to be quite interesting in terms of debates. MPs debated the draft changes for a long time. Again the opposition MPs reiterated their remarks and emphasized that their disregard would render the constitutional reform pointless. As for the Minister of Justice himself, he said that “the draft constitutional changes represent a project closely resembling the European model.”
He noted that when the Georgian Authorities were in the process of elaborating first major constitutional amendments back in 2004, it was said that the work would continue without fail with an ultimate aim of arriving at the European model of constitutional administration.
According to Zurab Adeishvili, the part of the bill, which deals with a new model of balancing different branches of State power, will come into effect on January 1, 2013. Incidentally, this is exactly the time of national elections and governmental renewal.

 


It is noteworthy that Adeishvili favors limiting of presidential power to initiate a legislative motion. This issue was raised during the meeting of Legislative Parliamentary Committee several days before the first hearing took place.
Many experts believe that the President should not enjoy the right of legislative proposal initiation. Paradoxically, opinions of the Minister and experts converged on the matter. Adeishvili said that he did not understand why the opposition was not happy with the rule on private property - “Fair Reimbursement” included in the new draft Constitution. In any case, on this part, he expressed his readiness to continue the work on the bill.


Regarding the articles which set procedures for no-confidence voting of the opposition against the Government, the opposition, Georgian experts and international experts unanimously point at the necessity to change them because the procedures and deadlines look complicated.


Adeishvili shrugged off this remark. Moreover, according to him, this norm is a pre-requisite for strengthening of the Parliament. He is also against rehabilitation of old constitutional norm which stipulates that the Government should appeal to the Parliament for a new vote of confidence, in case of replacement of a certain number of ministers. Adeishvili explains that the old norm was replaced in the new legislation because of its inappropriateness for any model of parliamentary republic.
Adeishvili noted that the new Constitution will make the whole Government accountable to the Parliament. Should the Parliament find objectionable replacements in the Cabinet of Ministers, it would have the power to raise the issue of Cabinet’s liability.


Nor does Adeishvili see any problem in a newly introduced probationary period for judges. He stated that probationary period for judges can be found in many countries, including Germany. Decision-making on probationary periods is a prerogative of Justice Council, which consists of judges without any involvement of politicians.
The Parliamentary Opposition thinks that introduction of probationary periods for judges will work against independence of judges.


Adeishvili does not accept the proposal of entrusting the Constitutional Court to review decisions of other courts.
According to the new model, the President is elected by direct voting. So, involvement of political parties in this process is an unbreakable necessity. Adeishvili noted that during elections the President should have a political force behind him or her to assume responsibility.
“I therefore think that the President would not be able to stay above party lines, if he or she was elected by direct elections,” – scrutinized Adeishvili.
In any case, the opposition demands from the Authorities to wait for the final conclusion of the Venice Commission and only then proceed to next stages of the constitution-making. Governmental representatives however claim that State Commission on Constitution and the Parliament had been in close collaboration with the Venice Commission with a number of meetings arranged in Tbilisi, Strasburg and Berlin Conference at different times.

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