Georgian parliament ratifies final version of state constitution

Georgia Materials 26 March 2018 09:26 (UTC +04:00)
The parliament of Georgia has unanimously voted for final changes to the state constitution at the plenary session
Georgian parliament ratifies final version of state constitution

The parliament of Georgia has unanimously voted for final changes to the state constitution at the plenary session, Agenda reports.

Thanking his colleagues for participation in "a long and hard process of constitutional reform” Parliamentary Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze said now Georgia has a constitution based on the best European traditions of the Parliamentary democracy.

Welcoming the adoption of the final version of the constitution, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said the country has a flawless constitution which, on one hand ensures stability and pluralism, and on the other hand prevents the concentration of power in the hands of one force, hence eliminating the possibility of autocracy.

"It was through the political will of our team that the document stipulates the country’s complete transition to proportional representation in 2024. Throughout the constitutional debates, we repeatedly pointed to a difference of opinion within our team on a possible transition to proportional representation in 2020”, he said.

The 2020 parliamentary elections will employ a mixed electoral system and the election threshold will be lowered from 5 to 3 percent. At the same time, parties will be able to form political blocks, however only for the 2020 elections.

The recent amendments also abolish the bonus system, which means that undistributed seats will be allocated proportionally among the parties that achieve the election threshold.

"I would like to state with all assuredness that no provision serving the partisan interests of the ruling political force, or improving its positions, has been included in the new version of the Constitution. Our goal has been for the country to have a balanced constitution, and for us to switch to a model of full parliamentary rule”, Kvirikashvili said.

Kvirikashvili believes that now the country has a constitution that balances and distributes responsibility among the branches of government, with the parliament enjoying its natural role and authority, with simplified parliamentary procedures for a vote of no confidence in the government, with a more effective and accountable executive government, with the president fulfilling the functions of a neutral arbiter.

According to Kvirikashvili, the constitution’s transitional provisions reflect:

The country’s foreign policy choice, with greater protection of human beings and society as a whole;

Enhanced rights of the parliamentary opposition which is now entitled to establish special investigative parliamentary commissions;

The state’s greater social responsibility and an improved level of protection of labor rights;

Stronger guarantees of judicial independence.

He said it also reflects the public’s request to define marriage and limit the sale of land to foreign citizens.

Kvirikashvili thanked everyone who has contributed in the successful completion of this process, especially the Venice Commission and its president Gianni Buquicchio who has been involved throughout this process and who has highly commended the constitutional amendments.

Last week the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe released its final report about Georgia’s constitutional reforms, stating they are a step forward in improving and consolidating the constitutional arrangement of the country.