Georgian President: “We should show Abkhazians and Ossetians how we can consolidate the autonomies”
President Margvelashvili believes that the country’s territorial arrangement issue in the new Constitution needs to be revised and the autonomies should be consolidated. In his words, it will be a good message for Abkhazians and Ossetians:
“We should show Abkhazians and Ossetians how we can consolidate the autonomies. This should be done as in Ajara’s case,” the President stated.
However, the ruling team doesn’t share the President’s opinion. It is unlikely to introduce territorial arrangement-related changes to the Constitution. “We will not touch upon the territorial arrangement issues until it becomes possible to hold consultations with the population in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region,” said Irakli Kobakhidze, Georgian Parliament Chairman.
Apart from the territorial arrangement issue, President Margvelashvili also criticized some other provisions in the proposed draft Constitution.
In his opinion, if those amendments are endorsed, the country will have an unfair electoral system.
The Georgian President believes that opposition parties will find it hard to get seats in Parliament, since, under the draft Constitution, the electoral bloc system will be abolished, whereas the threshold for getting into Parliament will still remain high at 5%.
Today, the Georgian President has engaged in nationwide debates on the proposed draft constitution for the first time. Before that, he didn’t personally participate in this process for some reasons, particularly due to his confrontation with the ruling team.
When delivering a speech in Batumi, President Margevlashvili also touched upon the limitation of the President’s powers. In his words, the President will only be referred to as Supreme Commander-in-Chief, though he won’t make any decisions:
“Georgia is a country, which had been occupied by a powerful neighbor as a result of a historical injustice. We have to develop our national strength in the most difficult situation and environment. In my opinion, against such a background, the elimination of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief,which is what this draft actually provides for, will be problematic for the country’s army. The President will have no discretion to decide whether to declare war or not,” the President noted.
- The aforesaid constitutional amendments were initiated by the ruling Georgian Dream party. Georgia will presumably have a new Constitution by the end of the Parliament’s spring session.
- Georgia’s present-day Constitution, which consists of 109 articles, was passed on 24 August 1995, and has been amended 33 times.