Parliament adopted on Wednesday with 77 votes to 21 with first hearing a legislative amendment that would allow Prime Minister to run for a seat in the Parliament in upcoming elections without quitting the cabinet post.
The amendment to the election code is designed to allow PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili to lead the party list of MP candidates of Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) ruling party; Kvirikashvili is set to become GDDG’s chairman at the party congress planned for May 14.
Under the existing legislation, the PM and other members of the cabinet have to resign in case of running for parliament.
The bill, sponsored by lawmakers from the GDDG, Conservative and Republican parties, envisages excluding PM from the list of those office holders, who are required to resign next day after being registered as an MP candidate. The bill requires to be passed with two more hearings by the Parliament.
Opposition lawmakers have criticized the proposed bill as Georgian Dream coalition’s attempt to tailor legislation to its political goals.
An explanatory note attached to the proposed bill says that it would not contribute to “stability” if the PM, and consequently the entire cabinet, will have to be replaced shortly before the elections if head of the government decides to run for parliament.
According to the existing legislation, along with PM and other cabinet members, the list of officials required to step down in case of running for parliament includes: President and his advisors; cabinet members of autonomous republics; members of the board of central bank; head of the state audit agency and his deputies; provincial governors and their deputies; chairpersons of local councils (Sakrebulo); heads (gamgebeli) of local municipalities, mayors; judges; member of the High Council of Justice; Public Defender and his deputies; military and police officers, as well as officers serving in the State Security Service, Intelligence Service and Special State Protection Service; prosecutors and their deputies, assistants and investigators; head and deputies of public service bureau; members of Georgian National Communications Commission and Georgian National Energy and Water Supply Regulatory Commission. The proposed bill envisages excluding only PM from this list.