UNM has confirmed that in talks with the Georgian Dream coalition over power-sharing arrangement it offered to enforce “large part” of new constitutional provisions, cutting presidential powers, now instead of scheduled late 2013.
Davit Bakradze, leader of the UNM parliamentary minority group who is involved in talks with Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili, said that this proposal would help defuse political tensions and pave the way for resolving other issues, including stopping “wave of arrests” of officials from the previous government.
“I think it’s an extremely constructive proposal,” Bakradze said. “We believe that an agreement over this issue will significantly help to pave the way for resolving other issues important for calming down the country and the society, including for stopping the wave of arrests and pressure.”
“There has been a positive reaction from the parliamentary majority and we are now working on specific issues and articles [of the new constitution] to define which provisions can be enforced now,” Bakradze added.
One of the constitutional provisions that is expected to go into effect after the October 2013 presidential elections is increasing bar for passing constitutional amendments from current two-third majority to three-fourth of MPs’ votes.
After the Georgian Dream coalition initiated constitutional amendments to limit president’s powers in respect of sacking sitting government and appointing new one without Parliament’s approval, UNM demanded increasing threshold for passing any future constitutional amendment from current 100 to 113 votes. UNM has also pushed for introducing a constitutional clause reiterating Georgia’s pro-Western foreign policy course.
PM Bidzina Ivanishvili was the first to announce about UNM’s proposal.
Ivanishvili told journalists during his visit to Ankara on February 14 that “there is a good initiative from Saakashvili” to enforce new constitution earlier than it’s scheduled – after the presidential elections in October, 2013.
“This is more interesting initiative, which was put forth by the President. Negotiations continue and, if needed, I will also engage in these talks,” PM Ivanishvili said.