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Parliament Discusses Constitutional Amendments
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 18 Sep.'13 / 19:53

Parliament discussed on September 18 with its first reading a draft of GD-sponsored constitutional amendment involving a proposal to cut some of PM’s powers in a new constitutional model, which will go into effect after the presidential elections this year.

The proposal also involves adding of a new clause to upcoming new constitutional model, addressing a situation if the Parliament fails to confirm state budget.

The voting on the proposed changes is scheduled for Friday.

Although GD has enough votes in the parliament to overcome presidential vetoes (90 votes), it falls short of 100 votes required for endorsing a constitutional amendment.

Lawmakers from the UNM parliamentary minority group said they will vote for these amendments with the first reading.

UNM, however, warned that it will withdraw its support in consequent second reading if the GD parliamentary majority continues pushing for another draft of constitutional amendment, involving a proposal to keep threshold for passing any new constitutional change at two-thirds majority, instead of increasing it to three-fourths majority as envisaged by the new constitutional provisions, which will go into force after the presidential elections.

“Our position is that we shall support this [constitutional amendment] with its first hearing on the condition that the issue of reduction of three-fourths majority threshold is removed from the agenda,” UNM MP Pavle Kublashvili said. 

GD lawmaker, Vakhtang Khmaladze, responded that these are two separate drafts, which should not be tied to each other.

“If the proposed bill is acceptable, we should approve it regardless of our opinion about other issues,” he said. “Let’s speak about the threshold issue when it is debated.”

The constitutional amendments, discussed during the September 18 parliamentary session, involve a proposal to cut some of PM’s powers vis-à-vis parliament when changing cabinet members.

New constitutional provisions, adopted in 2010, which will be enacted after the new president, elected in the October 27 election takes oath, will significantly increase PM’s authority at the expense of cutting presidential powers.

Under the constitution, which is currently in force, in case of change of one-third of cabinet ministers, the entire government and the PM require to be re-confirmed by the Parliament.

This clause will be removed after the new constitution goes into force after the October election.

GD-proposed constitutional amendments offer to keep this clause in order not to allow PM to change more than third of cabinet members without Parliament’s authorization.

New constitution will give the PM right to initiate non-confidence vote against the cabinet in respect of any government-sponsored bill. In this case the Parliament will have to either confirm government-sponsored bill with one reading, instead of three hearings, within 14 days or will launch non-confidence vote procedures.

GD-proposed constitutional amendments envisage removing this clause from the new constitution.

GD-proposed amendments also envisage introduction of a new clause in the new constitution according to which if the Parliament fails to confirm state budget within first two months of new fiscal year, it will amount to launch of non-confidence vote procedures; but if the Parliament fails to confirm new government, the President will have the right to dissolve the Parliament and to call snap elections.

Under the constitution, which is now in force, the President has the right to either sack government or dissolve Parliament if the latter fails to confirm next year’s budget before the end of current year.

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