Parliament overturned on September 6 presidential vetoes on three bills, including amendments to the law on high education, the initiative on suspending the change of status of agricultural land and amendments to the law on cultural heritage.
Veto on a proposal to suspend till December 31, 2014 change of status of agriculture land was overridden with 91 votes to 9.
According to the presidential objections, this proposal violates the right to ownership secured by constitution and will have a negative effect on economy as it will lead to reduction of investments.
This Georgian Dream-initiated bill aims at closing loophole which allows bypassing a temporary ban on sale of agriculture land to foreigners by changing status of such land plots to non-agricultural. The moratorium on sale of agriculture land to foreigners came into effect on July 17 after President Saakashvili signed it into law.
President Saakashvili’s objections on these amendments were mostly related to new academic ranking criteria, according to which doctoral degree seekers will no longer be able to hold assistant professor’s position that “will hamper the process of attraction of young scientists to universities”; presidential objections also concerned to a provision, which sets limits on the wages of state universities’ administrative staffs.
The bill, after its enforcement, will give the Ministry of Culture leading role in assigning or revoking status of cultural heritage on various sites in the capital city Tbilisi; currently the Tbilisi Municipality is in charge of the matter. The Ministry of Culture will also assume the authority to issue permits on carrying out works on sites of cultural heritage in the capital.
Three-fifth majority of lawmakers, that is 90, is required for overriding a presidential veto
Since the election of the sitting Parliament in October, 2012, President Saakashvili vetoed total of eleven proposals – all initiated by the GD parliamentary majority or by the government; ten of these presidential vetoes were overturned by the Parliament and in one case the Parliament agreed not to override the veto.
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