Venice Commission still positive of Georgia’s draft Constitution, gives further recommendations

  • Venice Commission has been providing Georgia with recommendations over the constitutional draft from the very beginning., 23 Sep 2017 - 08:02, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Venice Commission of the Council of Europe has published its draft opinion over Georgia’s constitutional draft reiterating its previous positive assessment and suggesting that "any major constitutional reform must reach the widest possible consensus”.

The Venice Commission reiterates its previous positive assessment, notably that the constitutional reform process completes the evolution of Georgia’s political system towards a parliamentary system and constitutes a positive step towards the consolidation and improvement of the country’s constitutional order, based on the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights”, the document reads.

The Commission considers postponement of the entry into force of the proportional election system to October 2024 as "highly regrettable and a major obstacle to reaching consensus”. 

However, the Commission members said "commitment of the parliamentary majority in the letter of 20 September 2017 to consider allowing party blocks, together with the reduction of the election threshold to 3% at the 2020 elections is to be welcomed".

The Commission also said that "new complex system for the distribution of unallocated mandates adopted in the second reading reduces the effects of the bonus for the winning party, but still very much favours the strongest party in the country”. 

Suggesting immediate adoption of the full proportional distribution system the Commission believes this "would favour pluralism in parliament and be fully in line with European standards”.

The Venice Commission welcomes:

  • Introduction of the requirement of a qualified majority of 2/3 of the votes of the Election Board in a presidential election;
  • Lifetime appointment for the judges of the Supreme Court;
  • Abolition of probationary periods for judges as from 31 December 2024;
  • Election of the Public Defender for a longer term (6 years instead of 5) by a qualified majority in parliament.

The final reading of the constitutional draft is scheduled in Georgia for September 26.