Co-rapporteurs from Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on honouring Georgia’s obligations have called on the Georgian Parliament to consider introducing a system of two votes by a two-thirds majority while revising constitution.
The Parliament is expected this week to launch debate on Georgian Dream-proposed draft of constitutional amendments, which envisages keeping the threshold for endorsing any new constitutional change at two-third majority.
According to new constitutional provisions, which will go into force after the inauguration of new president, elected in the October 27 election, threshold for passing any constitutional amendment will increase from current two-third (100 MPs) to three-fourths (113 MPs) majority. But GD’s proposal, strongly opposed by President Saakashvili’s UNM party, involves keeping this threshold unchanged at current two-third majority.
In a joint statement on September 18 PACE co-rapporteurs Michael Aastrup Jensen of Denmark and Boriss Cilevičs of Latvia said that a proper balance should be found between the required flexibility for constitutional reform as well as constitutional stability.
“We would therefore recommend that the parliament considers reaching a consensus on a reasonable compromise such as a system of two votes by a two-thirds majority, with a three-month interval, which is generally seen as an acceptable middle ground between flexibility and constitutional stability,” the co-rapporteurs said.
The co-rapporteurs have also called on the Georgian Parliament to take into account any comments by the Venice Commission, Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal affairs, when discussing these constitutional amendments.
Originally, when the new constitutional provisions, expected to go into force after the presidential election, were passed in 2010, among other issues, they also envisaged change of rule of revising a constitution. Original provision was to pass any new constitutional amendment starting after the 2013 presidential election with two-third majority but in two votes in an interval of three months. At the time the Venice Commission said that despite such system was providing “limited protection of constitutional stability by requiring two subsequent votes after a cooling off period of three months”, nevertheless this rule was “a step forward, which is probably the best possible option at this stage.” But in late 2011 the previous Parliament again amended this provision and introduced a new threshold by increasing it to three-fourths majority.