Abkhazia's draft constitutional reform proposes to abolish the post of prime minister
Constitutional reform in Abkhazia
Constitutional reform is being prepared in Abkhazia. The special commission has already submitted the draft to President Aslan Bzhania. According to one of the recommendations, the post of prime minister could be abolished.
The commission, which was created more than a year ago, came to the conclusion that the post of prime minister is an unnecessary component of the Abkhaz executive power system, since, according to the current constitution, the president of the country is not only the head of state but also the head of the executive power.
“This is one of the key changes in the proposed model which will serve the following purposes: elimination of dualism (duplication of powers between the Presidential Administration and the Government Office); institutionalization of the center for making administrative management decisions; reducing the time of passage and approval of documents; strengthening the responsibility of members of the Government; optimization of the state apparatus; reduction of budget expenses”, says the commission’s conclusions read.
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According to the commission’s proposals, when the post of prime minister is liquidated, the decision-making center in the executive branch remains in the hands of the president only, free from any collegial decision-making body.
According to this formula, the executive branch consists of the president and the government, whose ministers are appointed by the president in agreement with parliament (in the current constitution, the president himself appoints ministers without any agreement).
Together with the position of the president, the positions of deputy prime ministers will also be abolished, and members of the government will report directly to the president.
Also, the commission came to the conclusion that for now, it is necessary to retain the position of vice-president (according to the current constitution, the second person of the state “carries out certain orders of the president”).
President and Parliament
The second key innovation proposed by the constitutional commission in addition to the optimization of the executive branch of government is the redistribution of powers between the president and parliament.
In particular, it is proposed that the president can appoint a minister in agreement with the People’s Assembly, which is now in his exclusive competence. The parliament makes a decision on the approval or rejection of a candidate for the post of the minister after the latter speaks to the deputy corps with a report on his views and a program within a given sphere or industry.
In case of double disagreement of the People’s Assembly with the candidate proposed by the president, the head of state has the right to independently appoint a minister. However, upon the expiration of six months from the date of the appointment of a minister who has not obtained approval from the parliament, the deputies have the right to raise the issue of confidence in him.
In the event that the National Assembly adopts a vote of no confidence in the minister, the president is obliged to remove this official from his duties and submit a new candidate to the People’s Assembly.
Likewise, the People’s Assembly can express a vote of no confidence to any minister previously appointed in consultation with parliament. If the People’s Assembly re-expresses a vote of no confidence in a minister within 6 months, the president is obliged to dismiss them.
According to the members of the Constitutional Commission, such a redistribution of powers between the executive and legislative branches gives parliament “real instruments of influence on the political process, and the reverse side of this mechanism is People’s Assembly also taking responsibility for the decisions taken”.
Now, after the conclusions of the Constitutional Commission for Reforming the Basic Law, the floor is open for President Aslan Bzhania.
He will now decide whether to give a course to these proposals and if so, how to amend the constitution – through a referendum or by submitting a constitutional law with appropriate amendments to parliament.