Experts: Georgian new constitution can allow president Saakashvili to remain in power

Experts: Georgian new constitution can allow president Saakashvili to remain in power

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 21 / Trend E. Tariverdiyeva /

The new draft Constitution of Georgia may be an attempt of President Mikheil Saakashvili to remain in power after the presidential election in 2013. However, the new constitution can only be a compliance with the requirements of the West, experts said.

"The current authorities intend to use a new constitution for their own purposes, limiting the presidential power after Mikheil Saakashvili resigns," Georgian expert Soso Tsiskarishvili told Trend.

The Georgian State Constitutional Commission with the participation of the public, MPs, experts developed a new draft of the Georgian Constitution and submitted to the President. It will be adopted by September this year.

The new project enhances the powers of the parliament and the prime minister. The president's powers are severely limited.

The opposition believes that the Constitution is written for Mikheil Saakashvili, who can retain full power as prime minister or chairman of the Georgian Parliament after retirement in 2013. About 10 leading opposition parties in Georgia stood against the adoption of a new Constitution in an accelerated way.

According to many observers, the new draft constitution is designed for President Saakashvili to remain in power after the presidential elections in 2013.

Russian expert Alexey Vlasov said that Saakashvili is unlikely to resign as a person who can not exist without authority.

"So, Saakashvili has all chances to amend the Constitution with the support of the people, by looking for ways to stay in power and keep all the levers in his hands," deputy dean of the Faculty of History, Moscow State University, member of the expert council Vlasov told Trend.

Tsiskarishvili agreed with this scenario. He said that there is no need to adopt the Constitution in 2010, because it will enter into force in 2013.

"This indicates to the fact that the authorities intend to use it for their own purposes, by limiting the power of the president after Saakashvili's resignation," he said.

Russian expert, editor of the journal "Russia in Global Policy" Fyodor Lukyanov said that it is naturally that Saakashvili is now studying the possibility of protecting his stay in power.

Saakashvili is a young man. It is not quite clear what he can do after he leaves the presidency, given his enormous ambitions," the expert told PRIME-TASS agency.

However, U.S expert on South Caucasus Svante Cornell said that the adoption of the new Constitution is the compliance with the requirements of the West.

One can not say that after the adoption of the new Constitution, Georgia will become a parliamentary republic, as the authorities are aware that external forces can use this to destabilize the situation in the country, Cornell said.

"One can expect this from Georgia, as the European parliament has long pressed for Georgia to cut presidential powers because Saakashvili's powers after the revolution were very broad," Director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University, Svante Cornell, told Trend.

"These changes, of course, will increase the powers of the parliament. But Georgia is now concerned about security. The guarantor of stability for it is the West, which requires a change in the situation", the expert said.

The experts said that the opposition will not be able to resist the authorities and will not receive support from the people, no matter how it views the fact of the new Constitution.

The reaction of the Georgian opposition forces to develop a new version of the Constitution indicates to its weakness, Georgian expert Gia Khukhashvili told Trend.

"If the opposition admits its weakness and inability to overcome Saakashvili through the elections, it will never win the elections and get the support of the people," the expert said.

The expert thinks that the opposition must focus on creating a competitive electoral system and fight in these conditions of competition with the power. He does not expect special protest activity of the opposition either. "The opposition has already shown what it can do by street riots. So, it would be better if they focus on the smooth operation to change power through elections and change electoral environment", Khukhashvili said.

Cornell said that Saakashvili has not only a formal power, but also informal support, as most people in Georgian authority today support Saakashvili.

"There will be no major changes in the situation of the country before the elections," he said.

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