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Saakashvili Hails Adoption of New Constitution
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 16 Oct.'10 / 02:17

President Saakashvili welcomed revamp of constitution by the Parliament on October 15 and said the authorities had taken into consideration "actually all the recommendations" put forth by the Council of Europe's advisory body for legal affairs Venice Commission.

Speaking with reporters shortly after the amendments were voted by lawmakers, Saakashvili hailed the Parliament for passing the draft after, as he put it, "final conclusions" of the Venice Commission were tabled; he said that by doing so, the Parliament deprived opponents possibility to criticize authorities for not waiting for the European experts' final recommendations.

"I want to say that actually all the recommendations of the conclusion has been taken into consideration, except of one minor element - according to the conclusion the Parliament should have further reduced the presidential powers [in the new system], but the Parliament said that in the current situation, when the country faces so many challenges, it is ruled out to totally level the president's role," Saakashvili said.

On October 8 the Venice Commission released its second preliminary opinion on the draft of constitutional amendment calling on the Georgian Parliament to wait for its final recommendations before adoption of the new constitution. The Parliament, which originally planned to pass the constitutional with final reading on October 12, postponed the voting for October 15. The Venice Commission discussed Georgia's constitutional reform at its session on October 15; however, the text of its final opinion is not yet available on the Commission's website. Text of opinions are public after the adoption and are available on the Venice Commission’s website after the session. The session ends on October 16.

During his remarks with reporters, President Saakashvili said that he had "just received an SMS on my mobile phone and I will translate it to you." Looking on his mobile phone he then continued: "The Venice Commission's secretary [Thomas] Markert said that after thorough analysis the Commission is ready to state that the constitution is fully - and I emphasize on 'fully' - in line with the European tradition'; that's the conclusion; now others can speak whatever they want," Saakashvili said.

The new constitution, which will go into force upon the inauguration of new president, elected in October, 2013, will significantly reduce the presidential powers at the expense of PM and the government. The President, however, will retain an important role in case of non-confidence vote to the government having the right to veto prime ministerial nomination by the Parliament.

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