Georgian parliament to set date for monarchy debate

Georgia Materials 9 October 2007 17:55 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - The speaker of the Georgian Parliament is set to begin on Tuesday consultations on the restoration of the country's monarchy.

During the consultations, Nino Burdzhanadze will define the date for holding a debate on developing the country's political system, including the transition to a constitutional monarchy.

The idea to restore constitutional monarchy in the country was voiced by Catholicos-Patriarch of all Georgia Ilia II during his Sunday service at the Sameba (Holy Trinity) Cathedral in Tbilisi.

He said the ancient Georgian royal dynasty of Bagrationi was dethroned in 1801, when Georgia joined the Russian empire, and it has been the dream of the Georgian people to restore the dynasty ever since.

"Discussions are currently underway on what type of Georgia we should have," Radio Imedi quotes Ilia II as saying. "It is not up to others to decide. It is up to the Georgian people and people living in Georgia to decide," the patriarch added.

The majority of opposition parties support the initiative, saying that introducing a monarchy is the only option for Georgia.

Koka Gamsakhurdia, leader of Freedom, an opposition movement, explained that monarchy does not necessarily imply dictatorship, and that a king [or queen] would guarantee the country's integrity.