Resignations of three cabinet members in a week pushed the number of ministers, who have been replaced since the incumbent government, led by PM Irakli Garibashvili, won parliament’s confidence vote nine months ago, to seven.
Change of seven members in the government requires launch of procedures for a new confidence vote for the government in the Parliament.
Below are key points from the constitution dealing with procedures in question:
- First part of article 811 of the constitution says that in case of “renewal” of one-third of cabinet members since it last time won the confidence vote, the President will submit to the Parliament for confidence vote members of cabinet within one week;
- Second part of the same article article 811 says that rules envisaged by the article 80 of the constitution should apply in this case when reshuffled cabinet wants to win the confidence vote;
- These rules, envisaged by the article 80 of constitution are:
- Within 7 days the President nominates a prime ministerial candidate named by the largest group in the parliament, i.e. Georgian Dream ruling coalition; new candidate can be either the incumbent prime minister or someone else;a candidate, nominated for the prime ministerial post, then has 7 days to form the cabinet and to submit it to the Parliament for confirmation Within 7 days the President nominates a prime ministerial candidate named by the largest group in the parliament, i.e. Georgian Dream ruling coalition; new candidate can be either the incumbent prime minister or someone else; a candidate, nominated for the prime ministerial post, then has 7 days to form the cabinet and to submit it to the Parliament for confirmation (article 80 applies to post-parliamentary election situation, when the sitting government has to resign; as some legal experts and GD lawmakers say these provisions cannot apply to the current situation and therefore the parliamentary majority does not have to name the prime ministerial candidate and the President has to automatically nominate the incumbent one, i.e. PM Irakli Garibashvili);
- Within seven days after the President nominates reshuffled government members, the Parliament has to vote to decide whether to give confidence or not;
- To win the confidence vote, the cabinet will need support of at least 75 MPs (there are currently 149 members in the Parliament as one seat remains vacant);
- If the cabinet fails to win confidence vote, a repeat vote should be held within 30 days after the original cabinet was submitted to the Parliament for confirmation;
- Constitution leaves a possibility for parliamentary majority to change a candidate and name a new prime ministerial candidate if the originally named one fails to win confidence vote with the first attempt;
- Constitution envisages a scenario when theoretically it is possible that parliamentary majority will not at all name a prime ministerial candidate; in this case or in case if a candidate fails to win confidence vote with second attempt, the President has the right to nominate within 7 days, a candidate named by a group of at least 60 lawmakers;
- If another, separate group of at least 60 lawmakers also names its own prime ministerial candidate and there are two candidates named by two separate groups, the President has to nominate the one named by the group uniting more lawmakers; if in two groups there are equal number of MPs, it will be up to the President to pick the one nomination;
- If the nominated prime ministerial candidate again fails to win the confidence vote, the President will dissolve the Parliament and call early parliamentary elections;
GD ruling coalition holds 87 seats in the Parliament; UNM – 50; Free Democrats opposition party – 8, and 4 seats are held by independent lawmakers.
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.