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Georgian Dream to amend recent constitutional changes

2 November 2017
Georgian Parliament (wikimedia.org)

The ruling Georgian Dream party has submitted a draft law to Georgia’s Parliament to amend recently adopted constitutional changes.

Georgian Dream, which has enjoyed a constitutional majority in parliament since 2016, registered the initiative on 2 November.

The draft law will be go to the Procedural Committee to examine authenticity of MPs signatures before a new committee will be created to discuss it. This will be followed by plenary sessions where parliament will vote on it.

Two hearings will be held in December and the third and final one in March 2018, according to Parliamentary Chair Irakli Kobakhidze.

Presidential Giorgi Margvelashvili vetoed the previous constitutional amendments, but Parliament overrode this on 16 October.

Margvelashvili had suggested six core amendments to the version adopted by parliament. Georgian Dream had said that they would support the veto if Margvelashvili included only the four of these they agreed to. This included scrapping the proposed bonus system — which allocates votes from parties not crossing the 5% threshold to enter parliament to the winning party — and maintain electoral blocs, which are now prohibited. They also agreed to modify changes regarding freedom of religion and the rules of appealing to the Constitutional Court.

However, Margvelashvili included two additional changes —  the timing of a shift to a fully proportional system of electing MPs, and how the president would be chosen.

As parliament was unable to change the content of the presidential veto, they voted against it.

The new draft changes will make these four changes, which Georgian Dream agreed to after  the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, an advisory body of constitutional experts, issued similar recommendations.

Georgia’s constitution entered into force in 1995. While the majority of changes adopted in the package will be enforced next year, the amendments will not come fully into force until 2030.

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