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Rally-Related Bill Passed with Final Reading
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 17 Jul.'09 / 18:20

Parliament passed with its third and final reading a controversial package of amendments to the laws on police, rallies and administrative offenses on July 17.

The amendments will go into force “15 days after the official publication”, but before that President Saakashvili has to sign the package into law. According to procedures documents passed by the Parliament are sent to President for signing within a week and the President can sign a document into law within ten days.

MP Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian-Democratic Movement and of parliamentary minority, said he would call on President Saakashvili not to sign the package into law when he comes to Parliament to participate in the political debates on July 20.

Initially, when the package was drafted and submitted to the Parliament for consideration in early July, lawmakers from the ruling party said that the proposals would have been approved by the Parliament not earlier then September.

During the discussions with the third reading on July 17, lawmakers from the parliamentary minority, which opposed the proposals, demanded to postpone discussions for at least next week, but MPs from the ruling party voted down the offer.

One of the reasons cited by the parliamentary minority in favor of postponement was President Saakashvili's planned address to the Parliament on July 20 and opposition lawmakers said they wanted to listen to the President’s opinion about the package before it was approved. Another reason cited by the parliamentary minority group was its claim that the discussions with the third reading were not held in line with the procedures – allegation renounced by the ruling party lawmakers.

The ruling party agreed to include in the amendments to the law on administrative offenses a provision allowing appealing of court verdicts on such offenses to upper court.

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