Parliament approved on September 11 with its first reading a draft of constitutional amendment envisaging split of Parliament’s working venue between Tbilisi and Georgia’s second largest city, Kutaisi, in the region of Imereti, western Georgia.
According to the proposal the parliamentary sittings should be held in Kutaisi, over 200 kilometers away from the capital city, while other activities, including parliamentary committee hearings will continue in the current parliamentary chamber in Tbilisi. The measure will apply to the next Parliament.
Lawmakers from the parliamentary minority spoke strongly against the proposal saying that the measure would not help increasing efficiency of the legislative body’s work. Lawmakers from the Christian-Democratic Movement, were pressing deputy justice minister, who presented the draft constitutional amendment at the parliamentary session, to tell lawmakers how much the measure would cost to the budget. The government representative failed to name the sum.
Akaki Bobokhidze, a lawmaker from the ruling party who is one of initiators of the proposal, said the partial relocation of the legislative body to Kutaisi would not cost more than GEL 30 million.
MP Petre Tsiskarishvili of the ruling National Movement Party and leader of parliamentary majority, said that the move would partially relocate the country’s “political epicenter” from Tbilisi to western Georgia, which he said, would contribution to political stability and “revitalization of political life” in Georgia’s second largest city. He also said that it would also help “to increase economic dynamism” in that region.