President Giorgi Margvelashvili offered the ruling Georgian Dream party to meet on October 4 at the presidential palace and discuss the draft constitutional amendments.
“The President is always open for discussions on major political issues with all political parties, including with the Georgian Dream… I would like to invite the leaders of the Georgian Dream and the parliamentary majority for a meeting with the President on October 4, at 4 pm,” Giorgi Abashishvili, head of the President’s administration, said on October 3.
Shortly before these remarks, Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze made a statement, noting that the ruling party was ready to meet with the President. “We have already expressed our readiness that if there is such desire from the President, we would meet him in the format of the parliamentary majority. I personally, also expressed readiness to meet him over the constitutional issues,” Kobakhidze told reporters on October 3.
Members of the parliamentary majority confirmed that the meeting would take place on October 4, but did not specify who would attend it on their behalf. MP Davit Matikashvili said that this issue would be solved through internal consultations.
The Parliament approved on September 26 amendments to the constitution on its third and final reading.
Next day, on September 27, Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze expressed hope that the President would “demonstrate his constructive position” and veto the clauses related to the bonus system and the electoral blocs, which would enable the ruling party to reflect additional changes in the constitution without initiating a new round of constitutional amendments.
On September 28, President Margvelashvili offered the ruling and opposition parties to meet at the presidential palace and discuss Kobakhidze’s proposal, but the Georgian Dream denounced this format and called for a separate meeting with the President.
Kobakhidze’s September 27 statement follows his earlier announcement that the ruling party would submit to the Parliament a legislative proposal allowing the parties to form electoral blocs for the next parliamentary elections in 2020, and scrapping the so called bonus system from 2024, which entails the transfer of votes of the parties that fail to cross the threshold entirely to the winner.
According to the current constitution, the President has to sign the new constitution within ten days or veto it and return to the Parliament with his objections. The President’s objections will then be put to vote and if they are accepted by the Parliament, the final version of the draft constitution will be re-submitted to the President for signature.