PM Ivanishvili said that although UNM lawmakers voted for constitutional amendment, they did it in a way which was not helping them to be seen in positive light in the society; he also criticized President Saakashvili’s statement about the parliamentary vote on constitutional changes as “aggressive”.
Speaking at a government session on March 22, Ivanishvili said that before the bill was put on vote, he talked via phone with Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili and “advised” him to accept UNM’s proposal to at first hold a non-binding, test vote, which Ivanishvili described as the parliamentary minority group’s “whim”.
He said that Usupashvili was reluctant to accept UNM’s proposal, “because it was felt that we would have any way received enough votes for passing this constitutional changes” even without accepting UNM’s proposal on test vote.
The UNM was insisting on holding test vote, citing that it was needed to demonstrate that without UNM’s support GD was not able to pass constitutional amendment, contrary to some GD lawmakers’ claims that they had 100 and even more votes, required for approval of a constitutional amendment. UNM MPs were saying that GD’s rhetoric that there were some lawmakers within the parliamentary minority ready to break UNM’s party line and act in their individual capacity in support of the constitutional amendment was “insulting”, which was not contributing to a decision-making process based on compromises.
PM Ivanishvili said that from “the political point of view it could have been better” for the Georgian Dream coalition if it refused test vote, but he still decided to accept the proposal because he had “no desire” for the UNM to “remain beyond the society.”
“So I advised Usupashvili to make a concession on this whim; as a result we got what we wanted,” Ivanishvili said, referring to passing of constitutional amendment which strips the President of his powers to sack sitting government and appoint new one without Parliament’s approval.
He, however, also said that there still was “a sense of dissatisfaction within the society” about how the parliamentary vote on the bill was held.
“I have the same sense too,” Ivanishvili said and added that the UNM could have scored more points if it had supported the bill without any preconditions such as holding a test vote. He said politically it was a shortsighted move by the UNM.
He also said President Saakashvili’s response to the parliamentary vote was “incomprehensible” and “aggressive.”
“That’s regrettable,” Ivanishvili said and added that although “good constitutional changes” were adopted and although there were attempts by him to contribute “to rapprochement of UNM with the society”, the parliamentary minority group got only ‘D’ grade instead of ‘A’.
“I think that in the future UNM will make conclusions and it will be more responsive to the society; they can be engaged in the processes without any whims,” Ivanishvili said, adding that achieving “more consolidation” within the Parliament would have been possible if not UNM’s “whims”.