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The constitutional project – a step backwards

13.08.2010

Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

The strong prime-minister, strong government and maximally diminished parliament – this is the formulation of the constitutional project which was adopted in an expedited way on July 19th. This is the opinion of the opposition and non-governmental sector, including the representatives of the organizations, members of the above mentioned commission. Despite their opinions and recommendations, the project has already been adopted and the parliament is already working on it.

Before that, the European model of the so-called constitution will be publicly discussed in the regions. The meetings have already started in Kutaisi. Despite the maximum attempt of the government, there is a difference of opinion. The representatives of the non-governmental sector think that the project has been adopted in an expedited way.

Tamar Khidasheli: the Head of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association and the member of the organizational commission of constitution: “When the constitution reform was launched, the declared aim was the balance restoration between the governmental bodies. The fact is that the parliament’s rights have been limited, and the President has the unlimited authority. Consequently, the expectation was the increase of parliament’s rights and reduction of President’s authorities. Actually, the model where president has limited authority, will be established, but parallel with this the government and the prime-minister will be strengthened. And the parliament will remain as weak with limited rights. This weakness and limitation of rights will be reflected in that the President and government will be able to dictate their agenda (in this case in the legislative sphere) on the parliament, which will be obliged to put its work aside and discuss the bills offered by President and government in an expedited way.”

Experts think that according to the project, the role of parliament has been diminished, and the role of the government has enhanced.

“It’s interesting what mechanisms Georgian parliament possesses to raise the issue of government responsibility? The strongest mechanism would be declaring distrust to the government. For instance, I don’t like government and I want to send it home. This mechanism has been really hardened. This can bring the country to the serious crisis. I mean, parliament at least needs 2 months to dismiss government which it doesn’t like. Maximum, this process can be prolonged for 3 months,” – stated Khidasheli.

In the Kutaisi office of Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association the discussion of the constitutional project took place. The topic of judges has been noted at the meeting. Specifically, the government team hugely advertised the quality of the independence of the judges. “According to the project, the judges will be assigned for permanent term, but the serious problem is that the probation term has been established (probation term will be 3 years). I think this is a step backwards. The state constitution commission, refused to present other guarantees of independence,” – stated Tamar Khidasheli.

According to the representatives of the non-governmental sector, according to the project, the balance between the political forces doesn’t exit. We will have a strong prim-minister, strong government and maximally diminished parliament. Parliament is incapable in the process of budget confirmation. Even in this case, it’s obligated to accept the budget project offered by the government. Besides, the changes can’t be made in the budget project without the consent of government.

The fact is that, despite attempts to discuss the constitution project publicly, government can’t reach its goals. The offered recommendations have not been reflected in the project yet.
“The consideration of the recommendations is the mechanism established by the constitution approbated in the whole world. Unfortunately, this has only formal nature in our country,” – thinks the society strengthening this doubt with one simple questions: “Why was necessarily month of August selected for the discussion of the project, the season, when the citizens aren’t active and think about taking vacations?"
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