Parliament passed on October 15 with 112 votes to five amendments to the constitution with its third and final reading, which will significantly reduce powers of next president in favor of PM and the government.
This is the second time in last six years when the constitutional system has been revamped; the existing system, which was introduced in 2004, concentrated most of the powers in the hands of the President.
The new constitution will go into force upon the inauguration of the next president, who will be elected in the elections in October, 2013. The initial draft envisaged new constitution's enforcement from December 1, 2013, but the provision was amended and it now says that the new system will go into force as soon as the new president is sworn.
The final version of the text, passed on October 15, includes some other important amendments as well.
One involves provision dealing with eligibility for presidential candidacy. According to the adopted text a citizen of Georgia - and not natural born citizen as it was initially envisaged in the text adopted with second reading - who is at least 35 years old and has lived in Georgia for at least 5 years - instead of initial version of 15 years - and lived permanently in Georgia for last three years at the time of elections will be eligible to run for presidency.
Another change involves reducing by 5 days timeframe of last stage of non-confidence vote – the stage which comes in case of the presidential veto on prime ministerial nomination. The process of non-confidence may take 45 or 55 days, or in case of the presidential veto on prime ministerial nominee 77 days or it even take maximum 92 days. In the very initial draft this process could have taken maximum of 127 days.
Lawmakers from the Christian-Democratic Movement, which is a leading party in the parliamentary minority group, voted in favor of the new constitution. A handful of remaining opposition lawmakers, who are not members of any parliamentary group, was against.