Constitutional Court says President violated Constitution through unauthorised foreign visits

The Constitutional Court of Georgia on Monday allowed the vote on the President’s impeachment. Photo: President’s press office, 16 Oct 2023 - 15:21, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Constitutional Court of Georgia on Monday concluded President Salome Zourabichvili had violated the country’s Constitution through her visits to Europe in late August and September without the Government's authorisation. 

The Court announced its ruling after a several-day discussion and following a request by the ruling Georgian Dream party for the review last month. 

In his comments after the party’s initiating of impeachment procedures against the President, Irakli Kobakhidze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, accused Zourabichvili of “deliberate, gross violation” of the country’s main law, and stressed only the Government was authorised to implement foreign policy matters. 

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili claimed the ruling party was “forced” to initiate the procedures to “protect” the Constitution, and claimed the President's actions created “threats” to the country’s European integration process. 

The President rejected the allegations and claimed her visits aimed at helping her country to obtain the European Union membership candidate status later this year, “in line with the Constitution”, which mandates the country’s authorities to act for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration. 

In its decision, the Court also said the ruling was “final and not subject to appeal or revision”, with the ruling party now requiring at least 100 votes in the 150-member Parliament to dismiss Zourabichvili through impeachment. The Parliament has over 140 active MPs, with more than 80 of them representing the ruling power.