A draft of constitutional amendment, allowing Georgian-born EU citizen to vote and be elected in October parliamentary elections, as well as in 2013 presidential election was passed by the Parliament with its first hearing on May 8.
The version of the endorsed draft is different from the initial one, which was first tabled on May 7.
The new version says that a citizen of EU-member state, who was born in Georgia and “has permanently lived in Georgia for last 10 years”, instead of “has lived in Georgia for 10 years and has permanently lived in Georgia for last three years”, will have the right to vote and be elected.
The constitutional amendment, which may further be amended before its approval with second and third, final reading, is aimed at allowing French citizen Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of opposition Georgian Dream coalition, to vote and be elected in the October parliamentary and 2013 presidential elections.
The draft of amendment says that this provision will be in force only before January 1, 2014 (instead of January 1, 2015 as it was in the initial version).
But there are some conflicting reports about since when Ivanishvili has lived permanently in Georgia; some sources, including Ivanishvili’s press office, say he has lived in Georgia since 2004, while others insist on earlier date. Ivanishvili’s two lawyers, contacted by Civil.ge on Tuesday evening, were not immediately able to specify an exact date. One ruling party lawmaker told Civil.ge that the current wording of the amendment is in line with an intention to give Ivanishvili political rights in Georgia, but also added that discussions on final wording of the draft were not yet over, suggesting that it might be changed during its second reading by the Parliament.
Also on May 8, Ivanishvili’s lawyers said they have appealed the Civil Registry Agency’s decision to refuse Ivanishvili in Georgian citizenship through naturalization to the court.