President Giorgi Margvelashvili rejected the Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze’s request for convening a special sitting of the Parliament on September 26 to adopt the draft constitutional amendments with its third and final hearing.
Anna Dolidze, the President’s parliamentary secretary, explained at her news briefing on September 25 that the President’s decision not to call a special session is “a political act.” “The President decided not to convene a special parliamentary session, because, firstly, the draft constitution contains a number of shortcomings, and most importantly, it is not a consensual document … It does not take into consideration the recommendations given by the Venice Commission,” Dolidze also noted.
Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze slammed the President’s decision as “disrespect” to the country’s legislature, adding that this act “does not comply with the constitution.” “As it concerns the decision not to convene the session, it was expected… It does not comply with the Constitution and is a disrespect to the Parliament: when the Parliament requests convocation of a special sitting, the President should convene it,” Kobakhidze stated.
Irakli Kobakhidze said that the special session would still be held on September 26. “We have the legal right and the Parliament is authorized to start the plenary session at 14:01 on Tuesday,” he told reporters, clarifying that the request to the President was filed through the e-correspondence system at 14:01 on September 24, thus, allowing the Parliament to begin the sitting 48 hours later.*
During today’s session of the parliamentary committee for legal issues, Kobakhidze presented the final version of the draft constitution, which the Parliament is expected to approve on September 26. There, the Parliamentary Chairman said that the draft constitution “gives due consideration to the Venice Commission’s recommendations” and contains not a single article, which would improve the ruling party positions.
He also spoke on the upcoming constitutional vote. “The constitution should not become a subject to bargaining and speculations,” he said and added that “unfortunately, we have observed quite opposite developments, which is absolutely unacceptable for us and that is why I personally do not consider it reasonable to postpone the hearing.”
The Parliamentary Chairman had to request the convocation of a special sitting since, pursuant to parliamentary Regulations, the ongoing regular session had to be closed one month before the October 21 municipal polls.
* According to the current constitution, if within 48 hours after submitting a written request, the President does not issue the act of convocation, the Parliament shall assemble within the following 48 hours in accordance with its Regulations.