President Saakashvili rejected calls by a group of opposition parties for the new constitution to be approved by the new Parliament and said that the sitting Parliament enjoyed with voters trust to change the current constitution.
“I heard today some saying, that although this European-[type of] constitution is good, but ‘let’s hold new parliamentary elections in order to pass this new constitution’,” Saakashvili said in televised remarks made in Kutaisi.
Although some opposition parties are calling for early parliamentary elections, as well as for early presidential polls, the joint statement by a group of ten opposition parties does not contain any call for early parliamentary elections. The statement calls on the authorities not to hurry with adoption of the new constitution and demands it to be passed by the parliament election by the Parliament “elected in new, fair electoral environment, which will enjoy with voters’ high level of trust.”
“I thought as a result of these [recent local elections in May], our political parties became more matured,” Saakashvili said. “Why is not this sitting parliament authorized [to pass the new constitution]? The [ruling] National Movement party garnered more votes in these local elections, than during the [March, 2008 parliamentary elections]; our voters have not changed their opinion and it was demonstrated during the recent local elections.”
“So this sitting Parliament has all the legitimacy to adopt any kind of constitutional model,” Saakashvili said.
“Calling for new elections every time one will lose the polls is like to call for new [football] World Cup once in every three months, just because Brazil failed to win the world cup; they [opposition parties] are far from being ‘Brazil’, they are [like] lower level [football] teams,” he said.
Saakashvili also said that there would be no early elections. “We have next elections in 2012 [the parliamentary elections] and we have presidential elections in 2013 and these elections will be held as scheduled,” he added.
Speaking on the constitutional reform, Saakashvili said that the basic draft of new constitution prepared by the state commission has been welcomed by Council of Europe and by an international conference held in Berlin on July 15-16 with the facilitation of the German Organization for Technical Cooperation (GTZ).
Saakashvili said that he “deliberately kept away” from discussing the draft with the state commission chairman or its members so that to avoid any interference in the work of the state commission, which, he said, was “mostly composed of the opposition” members.
He also said that back in 2004 when Georgia’s constitution was significantly emended, powers of the executive government were “relatively strengthened”; he, however, said that those amendments did not resulted in strengthening of the presidential powers. The major criticism of the 2004 constitutional changes was related to increasing of presidential powers at the expense of the legislative body.
“I said at that time that in several years we would move to the European-type of constitution – I said about it publicly and I told about it to the representatives of the Venice Commission,” Saakashvili said.