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GD Boycott Thwarts Parliament Special Session, Sought by UNM
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 28 Feb.'15 / 16:25

Due to lack of quorum Parliament failed on Saturday to hold a special session, requested by opposition UNM party to debate on economic situation, as GD lawmakers boycotted it.

At least 38 members of parliament can request in a written form to the President for convening an extraordinary session of the legislative body. UNM did so earlier this week, but President Margvelashvili rejected the request on February 25.

Although the request was turned down by the President, under the constitution an extraordinary session should anyway be convened, but in order it to open, at least 76 MPs should be present.

42 lawmakers were present in the chamber in Kutaisi on February 28, far short of required quorum.

MPs from UNM and another parliamentary opposition Free Democrats (FD) party were in the chamber.

GD lawmaker Manana Kobakhidze was also present, who in her capacity of first deputy speaker had to preside over the session.

GD parliamentary majority leader, MP Davit Saganelidze, said earlier that he was not going to take part in UNM’s “stage show”; many other GD MPs were also making similar comments.

UNM wanted to hold a special session to debate on economic situation amid depreciated national currency lari, and for discussion of its proposal on “overcoming crisis” known as “36 steps for European Georgia”. Economic part of the proposal calls on the government to give up imposing regulations and to curtail bureaucracy; it also offers to cut income tax from 20 to 15%; to cut value added tax from 18 to 16%; to scrap tax from dividend or royalty, as well as excise tax on fuel, and to reduce excise tax on tobacco and alcohol.

When declining UNM’s request for convening a special parliamentary session, President Margvelashvili said on February 25 that the government should be given time at least till March 5 to present a detailed plan on how it’s going to tackle the problem related the national currency, lari (GEL), which at the time had 29% of its value lost against U.S. dollar since early November.

GEL gained 4.3% over the past two days to 2.1654 per U.S. dollar, but it’s still weaker compared to 1.7542 in early November,  before it started depreciation.

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