Parliament overrides presidential veto, approves new constitution

The confidence voting procedure took place for the first time in Georgian Parlliament. Photo by Parliament's press office., 13 Oct 2017 - 17:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

The parliament of Georgia has overridden the president’s veto on the constitutional amendments and confirmed the country’s new constitution that will come into force following the 2018 presidential elections.

The parliament first voted on the recommendations President Giorgi Margvelashvili gave regarding the constitutional changes. Only eight members of parliament (MPs) voted in favour of the president’s project while 110 went against.

This was followed by a vote on the initial project of the constitution and the amendments were approved with 117 votes in favour and seven against.

At least 113 votes were needed to override the veto at Georgia’s 150-member legislative body.

Parliament spent more than five hours discussing the veto before overriding it this evening.

President Margvelashvili vetoed the constitutional changes on October 9. He said he did not sign the amendments because of six concrete shortcomings and returned the bill back to the parliament with six recommendations. Parliament still approved the initial version of the document.

These are some of the key amendments into the newly adopted constitution:

  • Georgia will switch to fully proportional elections in 2024;
  • The 2020 parliamentary elections will still be held through the existing mixed proportional and majoritarian system but the election threshold will be lowered to 3 percent from 5 percent for these elections only;
  • The president will be elected by a special council starting in 2024;
  • In 2018 the president will still be elected directly but for a six and not a five year term.
  • Selling agricultural lands to foreign nationals will be prohibited.
  • The opposition rights in parliament will be boosted, permitting them to create investigative commissions and others.