UNM parliamentary minority group has announced at a protest rally in Tbilisi on March 21 that it will try to launch procedures for no-confidence vote against the government – a lengthy and complicated process, which the opposition party will fail to accomplish without support of at least dozen of ruling GD coalition MPs taking into view current distribution of seats in the legislative body.
UNM said that its goal is to achieve resignation of the current government, including through “permanent protests if needed” and to bring in, interim “technical government” before early or scheduled elections are held.
Currently there are total of 149 MPs in the 150-seat Parliament. One seat is vacant after death of UNM lawmaker and the seat will not be filled till by-election in Martvili single-mandate constituency in October.
GD ruling coalition holds 87 seats; UNM – 50; Free Democrats opposition party – 8, and 4 seats are held by independent lawmakers.
Below are key points from the constitution dealing with no-confidence vote procedures:
- Support of no less than 2/5 of the members of the Parliament – that’s at least 60 lawmakers – is required to formally request for initiating non-confidence vote procedure;
- The process will be deemed initiated if more than half of MPs support it – that’s 75 MPs; if it fails to garner enough votes, the initiative cannot be raised again by the same lawmakers within six months.
- If as a result of this vote the process is endorsed, the Parliament shall hold a separate vote on a nomination of new prime ministerial candidate, selected by at least 2/5 of MPs (60 lawmakers);
- A candidate will require support of at least 75 MPs for endorsement; no confidence vote will be ceased if candidate fails to garner 75 votes.
- If a new candidate is endorsed by the Parliament, then the President comes into play;
- The President should, within 5 days, either endorse the nomination or reject;
- If the President endorses a candidate, the latter will nominate cabinet members and the process will go back to the Parliament for an additional vote for final confirmation of the new government, which will again require support of at least 75 MPs;
- In case of presidential veto on a new prime ministerial candidate, the Parliament will have the right to vote for nomination of the same candidate;
- But to override the presidential veto, the Parliament will have to clear higher threshold – at least three-fifth majority, which is 90 MPs, will be required;
- If the Parliament overrides the veto, the president will have to endorse the nomination;
- If the Parliament fails to override the veto, president will have the right to dissolve the legislative body and call for early elections.
No-confidence vote, even if initiated, may take 50-60 days or possibly even 70-80 days in case of a presidential veto on prime ministerial nominee.
GD lawmakers say that UNM’s attempt to pass no confidence vote is “unrealistic”.
FD opposition party has yet to decide whether it will join UNM’s initiative or not.
“We were the first to raise the issue of government’s responsibility, but it does not mean that we will join any process or procedure thoughtlessly. The government should be replaced and the decision about it should be taken by the ruling political force itself in the shortest period of time,” FD said in a statement.
Even if FD party joins, UNM will still be 2 votes short of 60 required for formal request to initiate the process.
Even if the opposition attracts support of all four independent lawmakers, which now seems unlikely, it will still be 13 votes short of 75 required for endorsing launch of no confidence vote procedures, meaning that the opposition will need support from GD parliamentary majority members.
GD parliamentary majority group consists of seven factions. The largest one with 46 MPs is Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia, party founded by ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili and now chaired by PM Irakli Garibashvili; GD-Republicans faction has 9 lawmakers; GD-Conservatives, GD-National Forum and GD-Industrialists factions have 6 members each; two other faction with six members in each are formed by formerly UNM majoritarian MPs. Two members of the GD parliamentary majority group are not united in any of the factions.