Public debates on constitutional changes launched in Georgia on May 5
Nationwide public debates on introduction of constitutional changes have been launched today from Kutaisi city (Imereti region, Western Georgia). The whole process will last for 11 days. Public debates will be organized in Ambrolauri, Ozurgeti, Batumi, Zugdidi, Akhaltsikhe, Gori, Telavi, Mtskheta, Rustavi and Tbilisi.
The debates will be held by a 9-member organizing committee, comprising: 2 MPs from the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia; 2 MPs from the ‘For Freedom-European Georgia’; 1 MP from the Patriots’ Alliance; 2 experts on constitutional issues; 1 representative of civil sector (Transparency International-Georgia) and 1 Parliament staff member.
[toggle title=”What changes will the constitutional bill bring?”]
- Under the amendments bill, the President will no longer be elected through a direct vote. The President will be elected by the Electoral Board, comprising 300 individuals with voting power, including Georgian Parliament members, as well as local government and autonomous republic supreme council officials.
- The National Security Council, which, under the present Constitution, is led by the Georgian President, will be abolished. It will be replaced by the National Defense Council, which will coordinate the constitutional agencies’ activities in war-like situations. The Council’s permanent members will be as follows: Georgian President, Prime Minister, Parliament Chairman and Chief Commander of the Georgian Armed Forces
- Georgia will shift to the proportional electoral system.
- Under the new Constitution, setting up blocs is prohibited
- A 5% electoral threshold will be maintained. All votes of the parties that have failed to overcome the electoral threshold will go to a winner party.
- MP candidate’s age limit will be raised from 21 to 25 years.
- A provision on Parliament’s location in Kutaisi is no longer included in the constitutional bill.
- The Prosecutor’s Office will no longer be under the Justice Ministry’s jurisdiction. It will serve as an independent body and will be accountable to the Parliament. This agency will be led by the Chief Prosecutor, elected by the Parliament for the period of 6 years.
- Under the bill, re-election of Public Defender for the second term is unacceptable.
- The state may impose restrictions on political activity of foreign citizens and individuals without citizenship.
Regional trips are the first stage of the organizing committee’s work. The committee is also expected to organize group debates on constitutional amendments bill. Afterwards the bill will be brought for vote in Georgian Parliament.
Georgian President is also engaged in public debates on constitutional amendments issue. After a 4-month long unclear situation the President finally agreed to engage in the constitutional reform process.