Parliament Speaker: “No change to Georgia’s Constitution if Venice Commission disapproves amendments”

Georgia’s Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze will chair the commission working on Constitutional amendments. Photo by Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party press office., 09 Dec 2016 - 21:15, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia’s Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze has today announced a Constitutional Commission will be created soon and he will be chairperson of the new group. 

Kobakhidze said the Commission will be composed of  Parliamentary majority and minority members, experts, representatives of constitutional institutions and members of the civil sector and be responsible for developing amendments to the Constitution of Georgia. 

The Commission's activities will be based on the principles of transparency and the participation of all interested parties will ensure that we achieve our goals,” Kobakhidze said. 

The Parliament Speaker promised the draft amendments would be discussed with foreign experts before the proposed changes are voted by lawmakers in the legislative body. 

I’m taking responsibility that none of the amendment will appear in the revised Constitution if they were negatively assessed by the Venice Commission,” Kobakhidze stated. 

He said the new Commission would begin working before the end of December and it will develop a draft of amendments to the Constitution of Georgia before April 30, 2017. 

Last month Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili (R) stressed the importance of making amendments to the Constitution: "Once and for all we should have a Constitution of European, democratic Georgia.” Photo by the Prime Minister's press office.      

After we present the draft, intensive discussions and hearings in the legislative body will take place where the amendments can be discussed before Parliament makes its vote,” Kobakhidze added. 

Before announcing the format of the Constitutional Commission, President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili suggested this type of Commission be established and be co-chaired by him, the Prime Minister and Georgia's Parliament Speaker. 

Despite his suggestion, the initiative was not accepted. 

A Constitutional Commission was also established in 2013, under the Georgian Dream Government as the authorities believed certain amendments added to the Constitution during the United National Movement-led government in 2010 included drawbacks and caused a misbalance between different state institutions. 

The previous Constitutional Commission was chaired by the then Parliament Speaker and included 57 members who were heads of the Constitutional and Supreme Courts of Georgia, the Public Defender, the President’s Parliamentary Representative, majority and minority members, experts, civil society representatives and more. 

Meanwhile, amendments by the new Constitutional Commission must gain at least 113 votes from the 150-member Parliament to be approved and introduced as law.