US Ambassador welcomes planned changes in constitution

The US Ambassador stated he welcomed Georgian Dream's cooperation with the Venice Commission. Photo by Parliament of Georgia press office., 31 Oct 2017 - 14:38, Tbilisi,Georgia

US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly says he welcomes the planned four changes in Georgia’s constitution that will be added to the already adopted amendments to the law.

Parliament Speaker of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze discussed the scheduled changes with Kelly at Parliament today.

Kelly stated that the US embassy is closely cooperating with the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe and welcomes the Georgian Dream ruling party’s decision to take the commission’s recommendations into account.

The four changes are:

  • Annulment of bonus system - a party which gains more seats in the legislative body will not obtain the biggest portion of the votes received by parties which failed to overcome the election threshold. The undistributed votes will be fairly shared by the parliamentary parties.
  • Maintenance of blocs only for the 2020 parliamentary elections.
  • Specification of the record on freedom of religion.
  • Specification of the record on the authority of the Constitutional Court regarding elections.

Kelly and Kobakhidze discussed constitutional amendments. Photo by Parliament of Georgia press office.  

In December, we will hold two readings of the planned changes and the third and final reading will take place in March. All parties will have an opportunity to get involved in the discussions of the amendments for one month before the draft enters the parliament,” Kobakhidze said.

Kobakhidze announced the creation of a special commission which writes the changes, composed of politicians, opposition, NGOs, experts and court staff, and which will participate in public discussions for the draft.

The President’s administration has not yet announced whether they will participate in the discussions or not.

The United National Movement opposition party refused participation in the process. As they stated, their involvement had no meaning as the ruling party did not consider the opposition’s demands regarding constitutional reform.